Information

First Estimates of the Cereal and Oilseed Rape Harvest 2014

This publication contains early estimates fo the 2014 Scottish cereal and oilseed rape harvest, including estimates of yields and production levels.


Commentary

Cereals[1]

Production

Between 2013 and 2014 production is estimated to have risen by 445,000 tonnes to 3.3 million tonnes, the highest level for 20 years. The estimated increase in cereal production in 2014 represents a recovery following reduction in 2012 and 2013, which was caused by poor weather conditions and a prolonged harvest period.

Yield

The total cereal area remained largely unchanged compared to 2013, with the estimated rise in production due to a 15 per cent increase in yields. With the more favourable weather conditions this year is estimated to have the highest yield in 20 years at 7.1 tonnes per hectare.

The long term trend of increasing yields remains, with the recent 10 year average of 6.5 tonnes per hectare seven per cent above the previous 10 year average. This long term increase is likely to be due to an improved efficiency in farming practices as well as development and use of higher yielding crop varieties. These shorter term variations in cereal yields are more likely to be influenced by weather and other conditions during the growing season.

Area

461,000 hectares of cereals were grown this year. Areas have ranged between 395,000 hectares in 1994 and 476,000 hectares in 1997. Cereal plantings have been influenced by various factors, including differing rates of compulsory set-aside between 1994 and 2008, relative competitiveness and profitability of cereals compared to other crops, as well as physical conditions at the time of planting.

Triticale

Triticale is a marginal crop in Scotland, grown on around 500 hectares. Because there are relatively few farms growing triticale it is difficult to provide reliable yield estimates. However, for the same reason, variances in yield have little impact on overall cereal production. Triticale production is not discussed in this release, but is included in the overall cereal estimates.

Cautionary Note

Final estimates of the 2014 cereal and oilseed rape harvest, which will be available in December, are usually within five per cent of the first estimates of production. However, it should be remembered that it is early in the year for estimating harvest production.

Charts

Chart 2 shows the areas estimated from the June Agricultural Census as bars and the estimated production and estimated average yield as lines. Area is presented in hundreds of hectares, production in thousands of tonnes and yield in tonnes per hectare.

In the same format as chart 2, chart 3 shows the year-on-year change of areas, total production and average yield. This allows the drivers of fluctuations in production to be more easily distinguished and gives a sense of the typical fluctuations from year to year. In chart 3 all measures are presented as the percentage change compared to the previous year.

In the following sections similar charts are used to display the results for each crop group, though the scales of the chart axes are not the same in every case.

Chart 2 - Total Cereals: Area, Yield and Production (includes triticale)

Chart 2 - Total Cereals: Area, Yield and Production (includes triticale)

Chart 3 - Total Cereals Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production
(includes triticale)

Chart 3 - Total Cereals Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production (includes triticale)

Barley

Barley is the predominant cereal crop grown in Scotland and, in 2014, contributed around a third of the UK barley area, particularly spring barley which accounted for just under half of the UK total (based on 2013 UK production figures). Despite a strong association with the Scottish whisky industry, as a key ingredient, most Scottish barley is used as animal feed.

Spring Barley Estimates (charts 4 and 5)

Over the last 20 years spring barley production has been following a generally increasing trend. With an estimated two per cent increase in 2014, production is at the highest level over the period, estimated at 1.7 million tonnes (9,000 tonnes behind the 2009 peak). This estimated increase was due to seven per cent decrease in area grown and a 10 per cent increase in yield.

Grown areas decreased to similar levels as 1999, at 274,000 hectares. The average yield for spring barley in 2014 has been estimated at 6.4 tonnes per hectare, the highest level for 20 years. In the last 10 years yields for spring barley remained relatively stable until 2012; when yields experienced the largest change in a decade, with a fall of 14 per cent. This year's yields are estimated to have increased by 9 per cent.

The longer term trend in yield is an increasing one, with the average over the most recent decade nine per cent higher than over the previous 10 years - when yields were both lower and more variable.

Winter Barley Estimates (charts 6 and 7)

2014 production is estimated to have increased by 45 per cent to 406,000 tonnes, approximately the same level of production as in 2002. This year's estimated increase has been driven by a 18 per cent increase in yield and 23 per cent increase in grown area.

With the exception of the most recent year winter barley production follows a similar trend to grown areas; which peaked in 1997 and have been on a general decline since then. 52,000 hectares were grown in Scotland in 2014 which is comparable to those grown in 2007.

The general trend in winter barley yields has been quite different. Relatively large fluctuations in yield gave way in 2001 to a period of steady increases, rising to a peak in 2006. While yields have declined since then, the recent 10 year average is seven per cent higher than that of the previous decade and, similarly to spring barley, also less variable. The average yield for winter barley in 2014 is estimated at 7.7 tonnes per hectare similar to the peak observed in 2006.

Chart 4 - Spring Barley: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 4 - Spring Barley: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 5 - Spring Barley Year-on-Year Change:

Chart 5 - Spring Barley Year-on-Year Change

Chart 6 - Winter Barley: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 6 - Winter Barley: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 7 - Winter Barley Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production Area, Yield and Production

Chart 7 - Winter Barley Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production Area, Yield and Production

Wheat

Scottish wheat is mostly soft wheats; used predominantly for distilling, but is also used for animal feed. Scotland imports hard wheats for milling (for bread making) as our climate does not suit hard wheat varieties.

Wheat Estimates (charts 8 and 9)

In 2012 and 2013 wheat production was particularly affected by poor growing conditions and fell by almost a third. Estimated production in 2014 has increased to similar levels seen in 2009, to 954,000 tonnes. Wheat yields are estimated to have increased by 16 per cent with grown areas also increasing by 26 per cent are responsible for the increase in production.

109,000 hectares of wheat were grown this year. Areas have fluctuated considerably in the last 20 years, reaching a peak in 2011 with 2014 areas being comparable to that of 2000. Yields do not tend to fluctuate as much and are estimated to have increased to 8.8 tonnes per hectare in 2014.

In general, the higher variability in grown areas of wheat exerts a stronger influence over levels of production than relatively small fluctuations in yield. Areas, yields and production have been higher on average in the last decade than the previous one.

Chart 8 - Wheat: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 8 - Wheat: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 9 - Wheat Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 9 - Wheat Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production

Oats

The majority of oats grown in Scotland are used for milling and further processing for breakfast cereals, oatcakes, porridge oats and oatmeal for secondary processing outside Scotland. The majority of the remainder is used as specialist feed for horses.

Oats Estimates (charts 10 and 11)

Oat production is estimated to have decreased by 7 per cent this year due to a 21 per cent decrease in grown areas and an increase of 17 per cent for yields. Production has fluctuated considerably in recent years, but particularly so in the few years when it reached the highest level in the last 20 years, at 195,000 tonnes in 2013. The production is estimated to be 173,000 tonnes in 2014. Spring oats make up around 65 per cent of oat production.

This year's average yield is estimated at 6.9 tonnes per hectare, the highest yield in the last 20 years. This is in line with the general increasing trend in oat yields, which has seen a 11 per cent average increase in the last 10 years, compared to the previous decade.

Chart 10 - Oats: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 10 - Oats: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 11 - Oats Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 11 - Oats Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production

Oilseed Rape

The majority of Scottish oilseed rape is winter oilseed rape and is mainly exported for biofuels, with a very small amount processed in Scotland for edible oil.

Oilseed Rape Estimates (charts 12 and 13)

Estimated oilseed rape production in 2014 increased by 35 per cent to levels seen in 2011, at 151,000 tonnes. This was due to an increase in areas grown, which rose by 10 per cent to 37,000 hectares and an estimated 22 per cent increase in yields.

Over the last 20 years, oilseed rape production has remained relatively stable. This is in part due to a balance between generally decreasing areas grown and general increases in yields achieved. Fluctuations in yield have been more marked in recent years and in particular in 2012, when poor growing conditions saw yields fall by almost a third. In 2014, yields improved to their highest level in 20 years and are estimated at 4.1 tonnes per hectare on average.

Chart 12 - Oilseed Rape: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 12 - Oilseed Rape: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 13 - Oilseed Rape Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production

Chart 13 - Oilseed Rape Year-on-Year Change: Area, Yield and Production

Contact

Email: Andrew Walker

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