Results from the Scottish Agricultural Census: June 2023

Final results from the 2023 June Agricultural Census on land use, crop areas, livestock and the number of people working on agricultural holdings. Estimates for 2022 are published in the supporting documents.

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Most of Scotland's area is used for agriculture 

Figure 1: Map of Scotland showing main farming types in each area

The map shows that the majority of land in Scotland has limited growing conditions, these areas cover; the west and north coasts, Highlands and Islands and Dumfries and Galloway. On the Highlands and Lewis arrows indicate the majority of land use is used for sheep. On the Shetland Islands and Orkney an arrow indicates the land is mainly used for cattle and sheep. In Dumfries and Galloway an arrow indicates the land is mainly used for dairy and beef. Along the east coast as well as Ayrshire the map shows that land has better soil conditions to support crops. A label is located next to East Lothian stating the land is mainly used for crops. To the side of Fife on the map text indicates the main use of the land is for potatoes and fruit and above Aberdeenshire text indicates land use in this area is mainly for crops and beef.

This map shows the main farming types found in each area. Large areas of Scotland have hilly or rocky land suitable for livestock, but limited growing conditions. These areas are shown in light green on the map. The areas in black have better soil and can support crops usually grown for animal feed. Dark green areas can support vegetables, fruit and cereal farming for human consumption.

The total Scottish agricultural area in 2023 was 5.33 million hectares, 69 per cent of Scotland’s total land. However, it should be noted that large areas of agricultural land are only lightly farmed. For example, hilly or mountainous areas are mostly used for rough grazing. The total Scottish agricultural area excludes common grazing land.



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