Organic land area (fully organic or in conversion)
Chart 1: Organic land in Scotland, UK and Europe, 2002 to 2016
The area of organic land in Scotland fell four per cent in 2016, down to 122,000 hectares. Of this, 2,300 hectares were still in the process of conversion to organic status.
This was the eighth consecutive fall in the area of organic land. The total area is now equivalent to 2.2 per cent of agricultural land in Scotland, compared to 2.9 per cent in the UK as a whole. Scotland now has just under a quarter of the UK's organic land.
In 2002 almost eight per cent of agricultural land in Scotland was organic, nearly double the rate in the UK. But this fell sharply and by 2007 the rate was about four per cent, matching that across the UK, and since then Scotland has been below the rest of the UK.
In the European Union, the percentage of farmland that is organic has been rising steadily, reaching 6.2 per cent in 2015.
Organic producers and processors
Chart 2: Organic producers and processors, 2005-2016
The number of organic producers/processors in Scotland rose four per cent to 560 (of which 355 were producers), up from 539 in 2015. The number has been generally falling since 2008, as it has been in the UK as a whole. The UK figure for 2016 of 6,363 was a five per cent increase on the 2015 figure.
Chart 3: Organic land-use in Scotland and UK, 2016
Chart 4: Percentage of land that is organic, 2014 to 2016
Most of the organic land in Scotland was pasture (permanent and temporary grassland and rough grazing). This accounted for 113,000 hectares, or 93 per cent of Scotland's organic land and three per cent of Scotland's pasture.
There were also 4,500 hectares of cereal (four per cent of organic land and one per cent of Scotland's land growing cereals).
There were also 1,000 hectares growing organic vegetables (including potatoes), which was one per cent of organic land and two per cent of land growing vegetables in Scotland.
Chart 5: Percentage of livestock that are organic, 2014 to 2016
About 29,000 cattle in Scotland, or 1.6 per cent of Scotland's total, were certified organic. This was 16 per cent up on 2015. There were 115,000 sheep (1.7 per cent, down 13 per cent), 1,700 pigs (0.5 per cent), and 241,000 poultry (1.7 per cent) that were certified organic. Of the poultry, a quarter were table birds, the remainder were layers.
The reported rates in Scotland were lower than for the UK as a whole for cattle, sheep and pigs, but slightly higher for poultry.
Approximately 62 million organic eggs were produced in Scotland during 2016, equating to about four per cent of eggs.
Linkage of farms with organic status with returns to the 2016 June Agricultural Census suggest that a total of about 900 people are employed on these farms (including working occupiers). This equates to 1.4 per cent of the agricultural workforce (headcount).
This release contains data compiled by the UK Organic Certification Bodies. The data are sent to DEFRA each year to form the annual return required under European Commission Regulation No 889/2008. The data do not represent a snapshot at a particular date, but give the position on farms when they are inspected by the certifier bodies at some point during the year.
Please visit www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-environment-food-rural-affairs/series/organic-farming for more information regarding this survey.
If you have any questions or comments about this publication, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 0300 244 9716
Only food that has been produced in accordance with standards set out by EU regulation may be sold as "organic" within the EU. In most cases land must be managed organically for at least two years before it becomes eligible for organic status. The data in this publication generally include those still within the two year conversion period.
The data used to create the charts in this publication are available online in the accompanying spreadsheet.
Email: Neil White
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House