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December Agricultural Survey

Published: 14 Mar 2018 09:30

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The results of the December Agricultural Survey show drops in livestock numbers and in the area of winter-planted cereals.

The Chief Statistician in the Scottish Government today released the latest results from the December Agricultural Survey.

The area of winter-sown crops in December 2017 was down 11 per cent on last December, at 174,000 hectares. There were 93,000 hectares of wheat, down 11 per cent, and 42,000 hectares of winter barley. The barley figure was 20 per cent down on 2016 and was the lowest since the 1970s. There were also reductions in the area planted with oats and oilseed rape. The low areas of winter-planted crops are likely to be made up for by higher spring plantings.

Cattle numbers fell 1.0 per cent, to 1.69 million. There was a slight decrease in both beef cattle (down 1.3 per cent) but a small increase in dairy cattle (up 0.3 per cent).

December sheep numbers fell three per cent to 4.91 million. Pig numbers fell six per cent to 345,000, and poultry numbers fell one per cent.

The amount of hay produced during 2017 fell by three per cent, further to the falls in the previous two years. Grass silage production remaining steady at 6.88 million tonnes. On commercial farms there were an estimated 42,000 tractors, 4,000 combine harvesters and 942 milking parlours.

Average rent prices are estimated to have increased slightly to £39 per hectare. The average for LFA land remained at £25 per hectare, with non-LFA land increasing to £136 per hectare. These averages include those who have not had reviews as well as those who have had above average increases, and are also affected by changes in the profile of the tenanted sector.

The figures released today were produced by statistical staff, free from any political interference, in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.



1. The full statistical publications can be accessed at:

2. These statistics are used by government and stakeholders to monitor and assess the economic well-being of the agricultural sector and for policy evaluation, and to fulfil statutory requirements for the European Commission. Further information on Agriculture and Fisheries statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

3.  More information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: