HRH Duke of Edinburgh, 10 June 1921 to 9 April 2021 Read more

Publication - Research and analysis

Economic conditions of crofting 2015-18: survey

Published: 18 Dec 2018
Directorate:
Environment and Forestry Directorate
ISBN:
9781787814455

This report provides a detailed outline of the uses and financial situation of crofts in the years between 2015 and 2018.

53 page PDF

2.9 MB

53 page PDF

2.9 MB

Contents
Economic conditions of crofting 2015-18: survey
3. Crofting activities

53 page PDF

2.9 MB

3. Crofting activities

3.1 The most common crofting activity undertaken was raising livestock: 80% of crofters dedicated at least some time to managing livestock (24% did so exclusively). A further 42% grew crops[8] on their croft but this was much less likely to be their only activity (2% did this exclusively).

3.2 While only small proportions used their croft for other activities, a number of these have seen a small increase since 2014 suggesting greater diversification than in the previous wave of the survey. For example, 8% of crofters offered B&B accommodation in 2014, compared with 15% in 2018, and leisure activities have more than doubled from 3% to 7% in the same period (Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1 Types of crofting activities currently undertaken (562)

Figure 3.1 Types of crofting activities currently undertaken (562)

3.3 There were differences in crofting activities by the length of time a respondent had worked a croft. Most notably, those who had worked a croft for 20 years or more were more likely to keep livestock than those who had done so for less time (85%, compared with 72%). The activities that have seen increases over time (bed and breakfast accommodation, leisure and wood processing) were also those that were more likely to be done by those who have worked a croft for less than 20 years[9] (Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2 Type of croft activity undertaken by length of time crofting (551)

Figure 3.2 Type of croft activity undertaken by length of time crofting (551

3.4 There were some differences in crofting activity by local authority. For example, livestock was most common in Shetland (95%) (Table 3.1). Due to the small base sizes for Argyll and Bute and Orkney, the results for these areas should be interpreted with caution.

Table 3.1 Crofting activity by local authority


Argyll and Bute (18)

Highland (243)

Na h-Eileanan Siar (215)

Orkney Islands (9)

Shetland Islands (63)

Livestock

67%

78%

74%

89%

95%

Crops

39%

44%

39%

33%

41%

Bed and Breakfast/holiday let

22%

19%

10%

11%

10%

Other

17%

16%

11%

-

11%

Leisure

-

7%

10%

-

5%

Wood processing

11%

7%

3%

-

2%

Renewable energy production

6%

5%

6%

11%

3%

Aquaculture

-

1%

1%

-

-

3.5 Other differences were limited. Female crofters were more likely than males to say that they had a bed and breakfast/holiday let (22% of women, compared to 12% of men). However, this was the only difference by sex. There were no differences by tenure or age of respondents.

3.6 Among those that kept livestock, 85% kept sheep and 33% kept cattle (Figure 3.3).

Figure 3.3 Type of livestock owned (426)

Figure 3.3 Type of livestock owned (426)

3.7 Crofters were asked to provide information on the number of adults in the household who actively work on the croft, in paid employment and in self-employed work. They were separately asked to estimate the number of hours worked in an average week on the croft and in outside work.

3.8 Figure 3.4 shows the breakdown of the working status of households in the survey. Overall, 59% of households had at least one resident that worked in employment outside of crofting. Nearly a fifth (18%) of crofters said that no-one within their household was employed in crofting activities, or elsewhere, nearly double that of 2014 (10%).

3.9 Twenty-three per cent of crofters worked on crofting exclusively a small reduction from the 28% that said the same in 2014 (Figure 3.4).

Figure 3.4 Different working activities of households

Figure 3.4 Different working activities of households

3.10 Figure 3.5 show the number of adults within the household who actively work on the croft. It was most common for either one (37%) or two (35%) adults in the household to work on the croft – a similar picture to 2014, although there has been a decrease in the proportion of households that have one active croft worker (from 43% in 2014) and an increase in the proportion that have two (from 30% in 2014).

Figure 3.5 Number of adults in household working on the croft: 2014 (625); 2018 (599)

Figure 3.5 Number of adults in household working on the croft: 2014 (625); 2018 (599)

3.11 Crofting households where at least one person actively worked on a croft, spent a mean of 22 hours per week engaged in crofting activities (an increase compared with 2014 when households spent a mean of 12 hours per week on crofting activities). The median number of hours was 14.

3.12 Where there are one or more members of the household working on non-crofting activities, a mean of 40 hours was spent on these (a decrease from 49 hours a week in 2014). The median was 39.


Contact

Email: Neil Davidson