Mixed results in latest farm census

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The results of the December Agricultural Survey show that while winter cereal plantings saw an increase, silage production last year was down. In the livestock sector, there were rises in sheep, pigs and poultry, but cattle numbers fell to their lowest since the 1950s.

The Chief Statistician in the Scottish Government today released the latest results from the December Agricultural Survey.

The area of winter-sown crops in December 2016 was up on last December at 196,600 hectares, with 2,400 hectares more oilseed rape, 2.300 hectares more wheat, 700 hectares more oats, and 400 hectares more barley.

Cattle numbers fell 1.4 per cent, to 1.71 million. There was a slight decrease in both beef cattle (down 1.2 per cent) and dairy cattle (0.6 per cent).

December sheep numbers increased 1.7 per cent to 5.04 million. Pig numbers continued to rise, with an 11 per cent increase to 368,000, driven by an increase in the number of fattening pigs. In the poultry sector, a 19 per cent increase in the number of broilers resulted in a seven per cent increase in the total, to 14.4 million.

Results for commercial farms only also show that the amount of grass silage produced on in 2016 saw a seven per cent fall, alongside reductions in hay and arable silage. There were an estimated 41,000 tractors, 3,800 combine harvesters and 956 milking parlours.

The figures released today were produced by statistical staff, free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. 


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