8. Comparison with Other UK Nations
8.1 Land use ( Table C2)
The total agricultural area in Scotland, including common grazing, totalled 6.16 million hectares in 2015, representing 79 per cent of the total land area in Scotland. This proportion of total land cover is slightly higher than England and Northern Ireland (both 72 per cent) but lower than Wales (89 per cent).
The majority (57 per cent) of agricultural land in Scotland was sole right rough grazing or common grazing (3.53 million hectares), a far higher proportion than in other UK countries, due to large areas of upland agricultural land in Scotland being suitable only for livestock grazing. In contrast grass covered 22 per cent of agricultural land in Scotland (1.34 million hectares), a far lower proportion than elsewhere in the UK.
Chart 8.1: Agricultural area for each UK country, by land use, June 2015
Total crops and fallow land made up 593,000 hectares in Scotland (ten per cent of total agricultural area), double the proportions in Wales and Northern Ireland (both five per cent) but much lower than in England (45 per cent).
Total crops and fallow land in Scotland (593,000 hectares) made up 12 per cent of the UK total (4.89 million hectares). Two crops in Scotland in particular accounted for large proportions of the UK total; spring barley (256,000 hectares or 39 per cent of the UK total) and potatoes (25,800 hectares or 20 per cent). The large area of spring barley can be partially accounted for by the demand of the whisky industry in Scotland, with spring barley the key ingredient for malting, though most barley in Scotland is used for animal feed. Crops such as maize (1,400 hectares or one per cent), orchard and soft fruit (1,900 hectares or five per cent) and oilseed crops (35,900 hectares or five per cent) accounted for much lower proportions of the UK total.