Total cereal production in Scotland is estimated to have increased in 2017 by 333,000 tonnes to 3.08 million tonnes. This is the third highest on record, behind 2014 and 2015. While moisture content has been particularly high, industry experts collecting data have reported no particular concerns over quality.
In 2016 cereals were estimated to have accounted for about 11 per cent of farm output.
Chart 2: Production (tonnes)
Initial estimates suggest that the total cereal area increased one per cent compared to 2016. About 433,000 hectares of cereals were grown this year. Only 2016 and 2010 have seen lower areas sown in the last decade.
Chart 3: Area (hectares)
The overall yield estimate for Scottish cereals is the highest on record, at 7.1 tonnes per hectare. While these are early estimates, the expected yields for all crops in this report are estimated to have increased on last year, with record high yields for spring barley and oats.
The long term trend of increasing yields remain, with the recent ten‑year average of 6.6 tonnes per hectare four per cent above the previous ten-year average. This long term increase is likely to be due to an improved efficiency in farming practices as well as development and use of higher yielding crop varieties. The shorter term variations in cereal yields are more likely to be influenced by weather and other conditions during the growing season.
Chart 4: Yield (tonnes/hectare)
Triticale is a marginal crop in Scotland, grown on around 600 hectares. Because there are relatively few farms growing triticale, estimates have not been produced this year.
Rye is increasingly being grown, with 3,700 hectares in 2016, though it is mainly whole-cropped for anaerobic digestion.
Oilseed, though not a cereal, is also shown for comparison in the above charts, though is not included in calculations and commentary about cereal totals.
Chart 5 shows the areas estimated from the June Agricultural Census as bars and the estimated production and estimated average yield as lines. Area is presented in hundreds of hectares, production in thousands of tonnes and yield in tonnes per hectare.
Chart 6 shows the year-on-year change of areas, total production and average yield. This allows the drivers of fluctuations in production to be more easily distinguished and gives a sense of the typical fluctuations from year to year. In chart 6 all measures are presented as the percentage change compared to the previous year.
In the following sections similar charts are used to display the results for each crop group, though the scales of the chart axes are not the same in every case.
Chart 5 - Total Cereals: Area, Yield and Production
Chart 6 - Total Cereals Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production