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Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture 2015

Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture 2015 presenting an overall picture of Scottish agriculture using data from the various agricultural surveys that RESAS manage.

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2.4 Distribution of holdings and agricultural area by farm size and region (Tables C5, C6)

The distribution of agricultural area between holdings in Scotland is highly skewed, with a relatively small number of very large holdings accounting for a high proportion of the area. Nine per cent of holdings accounted for 76 per cent of land (4,497 holdings of 200 hectares or over in size, with 4.26 million hectares of area between them). Conversely, 52 per cent of holdings accounted for 1.6 per cent of the total land (27,317 holdings of less than ten hectares in size, with 90,456 hectares of land). These patterns can be seen by comparing chart 2.3 and 2.4.

Large holdings, of 200 hectares and over, were most prevalent in Scottish Borders (23 per cent of all holdings in the Scottish Borders), Argyll and Bute (20 per cent) and Tayside (14 per cent). Just over half (54 per cent) of holdings over 200 hectares were cattle & sheep (LFA) farms with extensive areas of rough grazing.

Smaller holdings, of under ten hectares, were prevalent in Eileanan An Iar (84 per cent of their holdings) and Highland (62 per cent), reflecting the high number of small farms and crofts in these areas.

Map 3: Average Holding Size, by Parish

Map 4: Proportotion of Holdings of less than 20 HA by parish, 2014

Chart 2.3 illustrates this, with holdings in the North West being skewed, with far more smaller holdings than larger ones in comparison to other regions; however it also has some particularly large holdings (mainly LFA cattle & sheep or forage holdings), as illustrated in chart 2.4.

Chart 2.3: Number of holdings by region and holding size, June 2014

Chart 2.3: Number of holdings by region and holding size, June 2014

Chart 2.4 Agricultural area by region and holding size, June 2014

Chart 2.4 Agricultural area by region and holding size, June 2014

Maps 3 and 4 also demonstrate how the farm size distribution differs across Scotland, with the average size of a holding away from the coast and the central belt being over 200 hectares, and a high proportion of holdings on the north-west coast and in Eileanan An Iar and Skye being of less than 20 hectares.

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