Poor cereal harvest reported

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s 2016 cereal harvest is expected to fall 11 per cent on 2015. Scottish farms are estimated to produce 2.8 million tonnes of cereals this year, including 1.6 million tonnes of barley and one million tonnes of wheat. The total is four per cent lower than the ten-year average.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released the first estimates of the 2016 Scottish cereal and oilseed rape harvest. The figures show that this year’s fall in production is due to an anticipated seven per cent fall in overall cereal yields. The total area of land sown has also decreased by three per cent, with an estimated 428,000 hectares of cereal grown in 2016. Overall yields are expected to average around 6.5 tonnes per hectare; ranging from 5.3 tonnes per hectare for spring barley to 8.7 for wheat.

Spring barley, Scotland’s most important cereal crop, is expected to fall 17 per cent to 1.27 million tonnes, the lowest since 1998. Winter barley likewise saw a 15 per cent fall to 345,000 tonnes, with wheat holding slightly more steady, with a seven per cent drop to 953,000 tonnes. Only oats saw positive results, with the crop expected to top 200,000 tonnes for the first time since the 1970s.

Oilseed rape is expected to have a particularly poor year, with yields averaging around 3.0 tonnes per hectare, resulting in the lowest production since records began in 1992, at 94,000 tonnes.

Early estimates of the Scottish harvest come from the Scottish Government’s annual Crop Report Meeting. Industry experts attending the meeting reported lower than expected yields. There had been no catastrophic weather condition responsible for this, just a series of less than ideal factors affecting the seed bed, growing conditions and the final harvest.

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 in December. Final estimates of overall cereal production are typically within five percent of the early 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. These early statistics are used to assess the economic well-being of the cereal sector and in determining impacts on the market.

Notes to editors

The full statistical publication is available at


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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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