Steady decline of total cattle numbers
Total cattle numbers have steadily declined to a new 60 year low. In 2020, there were 1.71 million cattle in Scotland, a one per cent drop on 2019. Cattle numbers have been trending down since a peak in 1974 when there were 2.78 million cattle.
Number of cattle
Office of National Statistics environmental figures show methane emissions in the agriculture and related land use sector fell by just over 16 per cent between 1990 and 2018. This reduction is partly linked to a fall in livestock numbers.
In recent years increased costs of feed, vets and animal housing along with changes to the support system has led to a reduction in the profitability of cattle.