Scottish Agricultural Census: final results - June 2020

Final results from the 2020 June Agricultural Census on land use, crop areas, livestock and the number of people working on agricultural holdings. These results replace the provisional figures published on 6 October 2020.

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

A chart showing a breakdown of the cattle breeding herd from 2010-2020.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a 12 per cent decline in the total beef breeding herd. This year there were 413,900 beef cows, compared to 468,400 in June 2010.

The number of dairy cows have remained relatively stable since 2010. In June 2020, there were 173,000 dairy cows. This is three per cent higher than the 167,600 dairy cows in June 2010. 

Number of beef cows


Number of dairy cows


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.



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