Increase in 2019 cereal harvest predicted

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Total cereal production is expected to increase in 2019 compared to the previous year according to initial estimates. Improved weather conditions during winter months may have contributed to the increase. There are some concerns about the quality of the grain but on the whole indications show the harvest in 2019 has been good.

The area of cereals grown increased two per cent in the last year to 430,000 hectares. Yield estimates look likely to increase by 26 per cent, which could lead to a 29 per cent rise in production, to 3.2 million tonnes.

The first estimates of the 2019 Scottish cereal and oilseed rape harvest were published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. The statistics show that 2019 was a good year for the cereal harvest, with predicted increases in yield and production across all crops reported. However, some crops have seen a reduction in quality due to mixed fortunes in weather during the summer months.

Spring barley, Scotland’s main cereal crop, is expected to see a rise in yield and production, despite a three per cent drop in area. This is possibly due to the increase in winter barley production meaning some farmers chose to sow less spring barley.

Winter barley area has increased due to more favourable weather conditions experienced over the winter months. This is predicted to lead to an 18 per cent increase in yield and a 53 per cent rise in production.

Other estimates for wheat, oats and oilseed rape are expected to see increases in yield compared to 2018, leading to a rise in production for each of these crops.

First estimates of the cereal and oilseed rape harvest are taken from a panel of experts representing the Scottish cereal industry. Their estimates of harvest yields are combined with agricultural census data on areas sown. Statisticians combine the statistics and advice to estimate the total production of the cereal industry.

As the collection of yield estimates happens prior to the completion of the harvest, this may lead to a level of inaccuracy with these first estimates. Final harvest estimates from the Cereal Production Survey will be published in December.

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.


First estimates are used to monitor cereal production and are required by EU regulations. They are used to assess the economic well-being of the sector and help identify likely impacts on the market. 

The production estimates 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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Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at:


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