Cereal harvest in 2018 affected by weather

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Cereal production and the area of cereals grown have decreased in 2018. Final estimates for the 2018 cereal and oilseed rape harvest were released today.

Around 420,000 hectares of cereals have been grown this year, three per cent lower than 2017. This drop in area, combined with a nine per cent decrease in yield, led to a 12 per drop in production, to 2.5 million tonnes.

This was due to the unfavourable weather conditions experienced in winter 2017, as well as spring and early summer of 2018. It has been particularly bad for barley and wheat crops, which resulted in a number of farmers choosing to whole-crop due to the low yield and quality.

Figures released today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician showed that spring barley, Scotland’s main cereal crop, experienced a fall in yield of six per cent and production fell by three per cent. Although the area of spring barley increased by three per cent, yields and production were down due to the bad weather during the last year.

Winter barley was also affected by the poor weather, with area dropping by a fifth. This, along with a four per cent drop in yield resulted in production decreasing by a 24 per cent. This was the lowest production tonnage since 1993 and the lowest area since records started in 1982.

Wheat production has decreased, due to area grown decreasing by nine per cent and the yield decreasing by 16 per cent. Oats and oilseed rape also seen reductions in area, yield and production over the last year.

Final estimates of the Scottish Cereal and Oilseed Rape Harvest are based on final yield results from the 2018 Cereal Production Survey. These are combined with final crop areas from the 2018 June census to produce production totals.

Final estimates were broadly similar to the first estimates published in October 2018.

Differences in the first and final estimates are due to the amount of information available when calculating first estimates.

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.


Final estimates are used to monitor cereal production and to meet obligations to the European Union, World Trade Organisation and Food and Agriculture Organisation. They are used to assess the economic well-being of the sector and help identify likely impacts on the market.

The production figures also feed into the UK cereals balance sheet, which provides a comprehensive picture of the supply and demand position of the UK cereal market.

The full statistical publication is available at


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Further information on Agriculture and Fisheries statistics within Scotland can be accessed at: https://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Agriculture-Fisheries

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

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