Scottish Agricultural Census - provisional results: June 2020

Provisional results from the 2020 June Agricultural Census on land use, crop areas, livestock and the number of people working on agricultural holdings.

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Long-term decline in beef cows as number of dairy cows remains stable

A chart showing beef cow and dairy cow numbers from 2010-2020.

The number of beef cows has fallen slightly in the past year. In June 2020 there were 414,400 beef cows, a drop of one per cent. Over the past 10 years, there has been a 12 percent decline in the total beef breeding herd.

Number of beef cows: 414,400

Number of dairy cows: 173,000

It is estimated that beef cattle contribute nearly 50 per cent of the emissions from agriculture, with dairy cattle contributing a further 15 per cent.

Whilst the UK dairy industry was heavily impacted by the restrictions caused by COVID-19, there is some evidence to suggest that farmers in Scotland, who mainly service the retail sector, have not been as badly affected.

Over the past 10 years, the total number of dairy cows has remained relatively stable.



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