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08/10/14 09:14

Promising outlook for cereal harvest

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s 2014 cereal harvest is estimated to be the largest in 20 years, with favourable conditions expected to produce more than three million tonnes of cereals.

In total, around 3.3 million tonnes of cereals are expected this year, an increase of just under half a million tonnes on 2013. This represents a recovery from the 2012 crop year, when decreased production was caused by poor growing conditions and a prolonged wet harvest. The longer term trend of improving yields continues, with the average cereal yield for the last 10 years seven per cent higher than in the previous decade.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released the latest estimates of the Scottish cereal and oilseed rape harvest. The figures show that the latest increase is due to an anticipated 15 per cent improvement in overall cereal yields over the last year. The total area of land sown has increased by 3,000 hectares to 461,000 hectares. Overall yields are expected to average around 7.1 tonnes per hectare; ranging from 6.4 for spring barley to 8.6 for wheat. Oilseed rape yields are expected to average around 4.1 tonnes per hectare.

2014 has been a good year for cropping despite occasionally difficult conditions; harvesting began early and progressed quickly, with more consistency in yields across the country. There is some disparity between the north and south of the country, after remnants of Hurricane Bertha hit the north; which will impact on ground conditions for winter crops.

Wheat and winter barley have seen the largest estimated rises in production, both increasing by around 45 per cent. Around a million tonnes of wheat, up from 600,000 tonnes, and around 400,000 tonnes of winter barley, up from 280,000, are expected. Spring barley production is stable, despite a fall in grown areas, at around 1.7 million tonnes. Oats is the only major cereal crop to see reduced production; down seven per cent from 190,000 to 170,000 tonnes, which was expected following an 80 per cent increase in 2013 when oats replaced wheat and oilseed rape crops in part of the country.

Scottish cereals are still being harvested and these figures are very much provisional estimates. Final harvest estimates from the Cereal Production Survey will be announced by Scotland’s Chief Statistician in December. Final estimates of overall cereal production are typically within five percent of the early estimates.

These early statistics were agreed by a panel of experts from the Scottish cereal industry and professional statisticians at the annual Crop Report Meeting. They are used to assess the economic well-being of the cereal sector and in determining impacts on the market, and are required by law by the Statistical Office of the European Communities.

The figures released today were produced by independent statistical staff in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Notes to editors

Background

The full statistical publication is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/10/7243

This publication contains provisional estimates of the 2013 cereal and oilseed rape harvest, along with commentary and graphics on longer term trends. It also contains a comparison of how historic provisional estimates compare with final results from the Cereal Production Survey.

Interactive online charts showing production trends and the influence of changes in yields and areas grown are available at:

http://scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Agriculture-Fisheries/Publications/InteractiveCerealCharts

A one page summary of the key changes since 2013 is available at

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Agriculture-Fisheries/Publications/InteractiveCerealCharts/AAGcerealharvest

Further information on Agriculture and Fisheries statistics within Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.Scotland.gov.uk/agricstats

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About

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