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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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2.5 Standard Outputs and farm types (Maps 5 and 6 and tables C1 and C23)

Standard Outputs (SO)represent the notional farm-gate worth generated by a holding’s crops and livestock and is calculated by applying multipliers (in £s) to all crop areas and livestock units. These multipliers are applied uniformly across Scotland. The multipliers used in this publication are based on a five year average, centred around the year 2007, and these have been applied to the 2014 crop areas and livestock units of holdings.

Using results from the June Agricultural Census, holdings are classified into farm types, which are allocated if the contribution of a specific farming activity accounts for at least two-thirds of a holding’s total SO value.

There are eleven basic farm types (cereals, general cropping, horticulture & permanent crops, specialist pigs, specialist poultry, dairy, cattle & sheep (LFA), lowland cattle & sheep, mixed, forage, and other). ‘Other’ relates to holdings with no SO value (e.g. holdings with fallow land only), whereas ‘mixed’ is where no single crop or livestock category accounts for two-thirds. However the same calculation can be used to subdivide the categories further, and so this publication also includes analysis (in the Farm Accounts Survey results) of cattle & sheep (LFA) farms split into three categories; specialist beef (LFA), specialist sheep (LFA), and other cattle & sheep (LFA). Please do not confuse the latter with the overall cattle & sheep (LFA) category.

This SO methodology is implemented in line with EC requirements and was first used in the June 2013 Agricultural Census. More information on the change to SOs and the new typology can be found in the Economic Report for Scottish Agriculture, 2013 Edition[4].

The geographic distribution of these farm types is presented in Map 5. It should be noted that this map shows a generalised view by parish rather than by holding, with a parish being allocated the farm type of whichever farm type SO total within the parish is the largest. We have also included the 'specialist forage' farm type featured in table C1 as it relates to a large number of holdings, however this farm type does not feature much in Map 5 as this activity has a relatively low SO value.

While Map 5 shows what the most common type of activity is in a given area, it should not be taken to illustrate where activities most commonly take place. It may correctly imply that cereal farming is generally in the east, but it would be wrong to infer that cattle and sheep are more prevalent in the Highlands. Maps 10 and 11 show that both cattle and sheep are more generally found south of the central belt and in Grampian – cattle and sheep only dominate in the north-west because there is comparatively little other farming activity there.

Table C23 presents information on each of the main farm types in Scotland, showing the total number of holdings, total agricultural area and total size in terms of SOs (Standard Outputs) and SLRs (Standard Labour Requirements, see section 7.3). The most common farm type was ‘specialist forage’ which totalled 22,310 holdings. This was followed by cattle & sheep (LFA) (14,327 holdings) and mixed holdings (5,498). Lowland cattle & sheep and cereal farms were fairly prevalent (with around 2,500 holdings each). General cropping, poultry and dairy farms numbered around 1,000 each, while horticulture and pig holdings were the least common farm types.

Map 5: Farm Type by Parish

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