Publication - Statistics

Scottish agricultural survey: December 2017

Annual agricultural survey based on data from larger agricultural holdings together with estimates for smaller farms.

Scottish agricultural survey: December 2017
5. Cattle

5. Cattle

Year-on-year comparisons between 2016 and 2017 show:

  • A decrease in total cattle of 17,700 (1.0 per cent) to 1.69 million - similar to the decrease reported between June Census results. The figure is three per cent lower than the ten year average of 1.76 million.
  • A decrease in the number of beef cows [2] of 5,400 (1.3 per cent) to 415,500 - again, similar to the 0.9 per cent drop reported in the June Census. The figure is five per cent lower than the ten year average of 435,300.
  • A small increase in the number of dairy cows [3] , up 560 or 0.3 per cent to 175,200. There was a 0.4 per cent decrease in the June Census results. The figure is three per cent higher than the ten year average of 170,600.

It is likely that short-term decisions regarding when to slaughter livestock, which may depend more on weather conditions and shorter-term price variations, are responsible for changes in beef numbers.

The tentative recovery in milk prices may have led to the slight increase in dairy numbers.

Chart 6 gives a comparison of trends over the past ten years for the numbers of beef and dairy cattle [4] from the December Survey and June Census. It shows that numbers vary little between December and June, though a greater seasonality is evident among beef cattle numbers.

Chart 6: Beef and Dairy cattle, June and December, 2007 to 2017

Chart 6: Beef and Dairy cattle, June and December, 2007 to 2017


Contact

Email: Nora.Mielke@gov.scot