Results from the Scottish Survey of Agricultural Production Methods, 2010

The Survey of Agricultural Production Methods (SAPM) formed part of the 2010 EU Farm Structure Survey and recorded details of farming practices across Scotland. This was the first occasion that the SAPM had been carried out in Scotland and, consequently, time series data are not available. The data will be used to inform the development of EU and national policies on agriculture and the environment.

2 Main Findings

Land Use

  • Just under 90 per cent of tillage was carried out using conventional inversion tillage (ploughing). (Table 1)
  • The most common method of soil cover was the utilisation of autumn/winter crops (44 per cent), with 15 per cent of cultivated land reported as being left bare. (Table 2)

Manure and Slurry

  • 35 per cent of holdings with cultivable land applied manure on their holdings, compared to the 13 per cent of holdings that applied slurry. 15 per cent of those holdings which applied manure incorporated it immediately after application (within four hours) compared to nine per cent of those holdings who applied slurry. (Tables 47)
  • 23 per cent of holdings had storage facilities for solid manure, with covered storage available in about one in ten of these. Twelve per cent of holdings had storage facilities for slurry, with just over half of these holdings having covered storage facilities for slurry. (Table 8)
  • 22,000 holdings had the capacity to produce manure on their holding. Of these, six per cent exported a proportion off the holding. (Table 9)


  • 501 holdings irrigated a total of 8,400ha of land (an average of 17ha for each holding which irrigated its land in the twelve months up to March 2010). Potatoes were the most commonly irrigated crop, with 74 per cent of area employing irrigation methods on the crop. (Table 10)
  • 62 per cent of those holdings who reported the source of their irrigation water, reported that off-farm surface water was the main source of supply. (Table 11)
  • Of those holdings undertaking irrigation in the twelve months up to March 2010, the majority (72 per cent) employed sprinkler irrigation rather than surface irrigation. No holdings surveyed used both methods on the same holding. (Table 12)
  • 14.1 million m3 of water was used for irrigation purposes by 897 holdings, an average of 15,762m3 per holding. (Table 12)

Boundary features

  • Ten per cent of holdings had newly established tree lines during the preceding three years, with hedges established in eight per cent of holdings. (Table 13)


  • Just over 3 million hectares were used for grazing in the twelve months to March 2010, 70 per cent of all the available grazing land. (Table 14)
  • The most common form of housing system for cattle were straw yards with a solid manure system, accounting for 57 per cent of places. (Table 15)
  • Straw yards accounted for just over half of the 410,000 pig housing places. (Table 16)
  • At the time of the survey, cages accounted for 58 per cent of poultry housing places, most of which were cages with a manure belt. These figures were gathered prior to the EU Directive on cage systems which came into force in January 2012 and do not differentiate between enriched cages and those now banned. (Table 17)


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