Scottish Agricultural Census: June 2019

Statistics regarding the area of crops and other farmland, livestock, agriculture workforce and rented farmland.

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The total cattle numbers hit sixty year low

The total cattle numbers hit sixty year low

Total cattle numbers have steadily declined to a 60 year low. In 2019, there were 1.73 million cattle in Scotland, a two per cent drop on 2018 and the lowest count since 1957.

Cattle numbers in Scotland have been trending down since a peak in 1974 when there were 2.78 million cattle.

  • Number of cattle 1.73 million

Office of National Statistics environmental figures show methane emissions in the agriculture and related land use sector fell by just over 16 per cent between 1990 and 2017. This reduction is partly linked to a fall in livestock numbers.

Factors which may have impacted the falling cattle numbers include the cost of keeping cattle. In recent years the cost of feed, vets and animal housing have increased. Combined with the introduction of the Single Farm Payment in 2005, which stopped payments based on the number of cattle owned (coupled support), led to a fall in the profitability of cattle. 



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