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Winter plantings down, livestock numbers up

Published: 15 Mar 2016 09:30

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The results of the December Agricultural Survey show that while winter cereal plantings saw a decrease, livestock numbers have generally increased since last year.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today released the latest results from the December Agricultural Survey.

The area of winter-sown crops in December 2015 was down on last December at 191,000 hectares, with 6,400 hectares less oilseed rape, 3,000 hectares less barley and 2,400 hectares less wheat, partially offset by 900 hectares more oats.

Cattle numbers rose marginally, by 0.3 per cent, to 1.74 million. There was a slight increase in beef cattle and a slight decrease in dairy cattle, though dairy cow numbers still increased. December sheep numbers increased one per cent to 4.96 million.

In the poultry sector, an increase in the number of layers and breeders, and a small recovery in the number of broilers resulted in a 13 per cent increase in the total, to 13.4 million. These figures replicate those from June in showing that for the first time there are now more layers in Scotland than broilers. Pig numbers continued to rise, with a 2.7 per cent increase to 331,000, driven by an increase in the breeding herd.

The results also show that the amount of grass and arable silage saw increases in 2015, but hay production fell.

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

Notes to editors

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: