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Publication - Statistics Publication

Scottish Agricultural Census: June 2017

Published: 11 Oct 2017
Part of:
Farming and rural, Statistics
ISBN:
9781788512862

Statistics on farming in Scotland.

67 page PDF

1.4MB

67 page PDF

1.4MB

Contents
Scottish Agricultural Census: June 2017
3. Commentary

67 page PDF

1.4MB

3. Commentary

3.1 Agricultural Area

Chart 1: Agricultural land use, 2017

Chart 1: Agricultural land use, 2017

The total area on agricultural holdings at June 2017 was 5.75 million hectares, with the majority of this area being rough grazing (54 per cent). Almost a quarter (23 per cent) was grass, with 10 per cent used for crops or left fallow. The remainder consisted of woodland (10 per cent) and 'other land' (three per cent) comprised of roads, yards, buildings, scree, ponds and other such non-cultivated land.

There were 51,356 agricultural holdings, with the total area equating to 74 per cent of Scotland's total land area.

There was also a further 584,062 hectares of common grazing not included in these census results. If common grazing is included, the total area was 6.33 million hectares, which equates to 81 per cent of Scotland's total land area.

Chart 2: Agricultural land use trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 2: Agricultural land use trends, 2007 to 2017

Over the past ten years, the total area on agricultural holdings has varied between 5.58 and 5.75 million hectares. This variation is likely to reflect changes to the coverage of agricultural holdings included in the June Census register, as well as genuine changes in total agricultural land.

However, the general trend in relation to the area of woodland reported on agricultural holdings, shows that it has more than doubled over the past ten years. This may be partly due to increased coverage of this type of land by the June Census register, particularly in the years immediately following the use of SAF data from 2009. In recent years there have been difficulties with collecting the data on woodland, but this is unlikely to have affected the overall trend.

The area of grass fell slightly in 2017 (by 9,000 hectares or 0.7 per cent). In 2015, a change in how temporary grass was defined was accompanied by a shift from grass under five years old to grass five years and over. This year, the ratio of permanent grass to temporary grass has been largely maintained.

3.2 Crops, fallow and set-aside land

In 2017, there were 585,000 hectares of crops and fallow land, with cereals accounting for the majority (75 per cent or 440,000 hectares). Oilseeds made up 5.8 per cent and vegetables (including potatoes) 8.3 per cent. The remaining 11 per cent was comprised mainly of stock-feeding crops, fruit and fallow land.

Chart 3 displays trends in these categories over the past ten years (including set-aside land up to 2008).

In terms of the last ten years, cereal areas were at their lowest in 2007, but increased by 53,000 hectares (13 per cent) in 2008 in response to tight EU and world supply, high market prices following the 2007 harvest and the ending of compulsory set-aside. There were decreases in cereal areas in the years 2009 and 2010 as market prices dropped and the supply situation eased. Following a rising trend in subsequent years, cereals areas have, since 2015, stood around 2009/10 levels.

Chart 3: Trends in crops and fallow 2007 to 2017

Chart 3: Trends in crops and fallow 2007 to 2017

3.3 Cereals

In June 2017, the total area of cereal crops was 440,000 hectares, up 7,500 hectares (1.7 per cent).

As usual, spring barley was the dominant cereal crop accounting for 244,000 hectares (55 per cent) of the total cereal area in June 2017, with winter barley adding a further 48,000 hectares (11 per cent of the total cereal crop area). Wheat accounted for 109,000 hectares (25 per cent of the total cereal crop area). Spring oats predominated over the winter variety with 23,000 hectares (5.3 per cent of the total cereal crop area), compared with 9,200 hectares (2.1 per cent of the total) of winter oats.

There were 5,500 hectares of rye in Scotland in 2017, a 14-fold increase in this crop (which can be used in anaerobic digestion plants) from the 400 hectares recorded in 2014. Until 2016, this area was comprised only of data from holdings submitting a SAF, however in 2017 data on this crop has also been collected from other holdings. However, the majority of the increase in this year's estimate has come from data on holdings submitting a SAF.

Compared to 2016, the area of spring barley increased by 5,000 hectares (2.1 per cent) to 244,000 hectares. Winter barley decreased slightly, by 520 hectares (1.1 per cent). The area of wheat was largely unchanged, decreasing by only 100hectares. Spring oats increased slightly, by 340 hectares (1.5 per cent). Winter oats increased by 1,100 hectares (13 per cent) to 9,200 hectares, the highest figure for several decades.

Chart 4: Cereal Trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 4: Cereal Trends, 2007 to 2017

The trends between June 2016 and June 2017 demonstrate:

  • An increase in spring barley of 5,000 hectares (2.1 per cent) to 244,000 hectares.
  • A slight increase in the total area of barley of 4,400 hectares (1.5 per cent) to 291,000 hectares.
  • The area of wheat has remained at around 110,000 hectares.
  • An increase in oats of 1,400 hectares (4.5 per cent) to 33,000 hectares.

More information

Statistics on crop yield and production for cereals and oilseed rape are available from Scottish Harvest Publications [2] . First estimates of the 2017 cereal and oilseed rape harvests were published on 4th October 2017.

3.4 Oilseed rape

Over the past ten years, the total area of oilseed rape has fluctuated between 29,000 and 39,000 hectares. Figures for June 2017 show a rise of 3,500 hectares on the previous year to 34,000 hectares. Winter oilseed rape increased by 3,700 hectares (12 per cent), while the area of spring oilseed rape [3] has continued to fall since 2013, falling 190 hectares in the latest year to 340 hectares, the lowest figure recorded since collection started in 1988.

Chart 5: Oil Seed Rape Trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 5: Oil Seed Rape Trends, 2007 to 2017

3.5 Potatoes

The area of both ware and seed potatoes rose, with the former increasing by 1,400 hectares (9.6 per cent) and the latter by 350 hectares (2.7 per cent). Over the last two years, the total area of potatoes has recovered from a low in 2015.

Chart 6: Potato Trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 6: Potato Trends, 2007 to 2017

Maps 1 and 2 show the percentage of the total area in a parish (not just of the area of agricultural holdings) that was used for growing cereals and potatoes. Where there are too few producers in an area the data are deemed disclosive and so are grouped with a neighbouring parish or parishes. The overall pattern is not considered to be greatly affected by this suppression.

Map 1

Map 2

3.6 Peas & beans for combining

The peas and beans described here are usually harvested by combine harvester (hence the name) and used as a source of protein in animal feed. Chart 7 demonstrates that there has been considerable fluctuation in the area of beans. The 2017 figure was relatively unchanged on 2016, with a decrease of 8 hectares (0.3 per cent). The area of peas for combining fell by 62 hectares (7.9 per cent), returning to the level seen prior to 2015.

Chart 7: Trends in beans and peas for combining, 2007 to 2017

Chart 7: Trends in beans and peas for combining, 2007 to 2017

3.7 Crops for stockfeeding

The total area of stockfeeding crops declined markedly between 2006 and 2008, which coincided with a greater rate of decline in cattle and sheep numbers. The area remained fairly stable between 2008 and 2010 but declined in 2011 by 3,000 hectares (13 per cent), possibly due to farmers responding to higher prices in cereals and switching crops. Since 2011 there has been a steady and consistent decline in the area. In June 2017 the area fell by 500 hectares (2.8 per cent) to 16,000, over 30 per cent down on 2010.

Amongst the individual crops in this group, fodder beet rose by 170 hectares, a 40% rise on June 2016. The downward trend continued for lupins and turnips/swedes, falling 37 per cent and seven per cent respectively on the previous year.

Chart 8: Trends in Stockfeeding crops, 2007 to 2017

Chart 8: Trends in Stockfeeding crops, 2007 to 2017

3.8 Vegetables for human consumption

Chart 9: Vegetables for Human Consumption, 2017

Chart 9: Vegetables for Human Consumption, 2017

The total area of vegetables grown in the open for human consumption at June 2017 increased by 1,400 hectares (eight per cent) to 19,500 hectares. As has been the case over the last ten years, peas were the dominant vegetable accounting for 40 per cent of the total vegetable area, followed by carrots (19 per cent), beans (nine per cent), broccoli (calabrese) (nine per cent), turnips/swedes (seven per cent), with all other vegetable crops contributing 14 per cent.

Trends show that the total vegetable area increased by 1,700 hectares (16 per cent) between 2003 and 2008, mostly due to increases in peas and carrots.

The increase in vegetables from 2016 to 2017 was driven by increases in carrots (up 500 hectares or 15 per cent) and other vegetables (up 470 hectares or 21 per cent).

The area of vegetables planted, which is often related to demand and contracts with supermarkets, has more than doubled since 1988. The increase in the area of vegetables of 3,700 hectares (31 per cent) between 2008 and 2009 however, probably represents a jump in the data series following the switch to using SAF data for those holdings claiming Single Farm Payment.

Chart 10: Vegetables for Human Consumption, Trends 2007 to 2017

Chart 10: Vegetables for Human Consumption, Trends 2007 to 2017

3.9 Fruit

In 2012, the SAF was amended to collect more detailed information on soft fruit, particularly with regard to identifying whether crops were grown in open fields, glasshouses or walk-in plastic structures. This resulted in a large shift from those areas reported as open field towards those classed as grown under walk-in plastic structures or glasshouses.

Chart 11 presents combined areas of soft fruit in both open field, in walk-in plastic structures and glasshouses. Given the developments in data collection described above, the changes seen in 2009 and 2012 should be treated with some caution.

Between 2016 and 2017 the area of strawberries grown rose 65 hectares to 1,060 hectares (a 6.5 per cent increase), largely driven by an increase in crops grown under cover.

Raspberries, which in recent years have been affected by reduced demand and disease such as raspberry root rot, continued the declining trend evident since 2009, falling by 27 hectares (eight per cent) to 300 hectares. The area of blackcurrants increased by 19 hectares (six per cent) to 320 hectares.

Alternative soft fruits such as blueberries and those encompassed within the 'other fruit' category both show large increases, by 51 hectares (39 per cent) and by 78 hectares (64 per cent) respectively.

Chart 11: Soft Fruit Trends (both open field and plastic covered and glasshouse crops), 2007 to 2017

Chart 11: Soft Fruit Trends (both open field and plastic covered and glasshouse crops), 2007 to 2017

From 2011 onwards, areas of strawberries and raspberries include areas grown under glass as well as areas grown in the open field. Figures prior to 2011 only include areas grown in the open field
Figures for blueberries have only been collected seperately from 2014

3.10 Bulbs, flowers & hardy nursery stock

In 2015, there was a drop of 330 hectares (26 per cent) in the area of land used to grow bulbs, flowers and nursery stock. This fall was driven by a drop in the recorded area of ornamental trees, which may have been due to changes in the categories used on the 2015 SAF rather than a genuine reduction of ornamental trees or hardy nursery stock. The crop area increased, however, in 2017, rising 20 hectares (or two per cent).

3.11 Livestock trends summary

Chart 12 presents livestock trends as indices. This demonstrates the relative change of each livestock category from a baseline year of 2007 and can be used to compare trends across livestock types with quite different population totals. Decreases in livestock are evident for all categories across the ten year period, except for poultry. The largest decrease occurred among pigs (29 per cent). Smaller decreases are evident among cattle (nine per cent) and sheep (seven per cent). Poultry rose very slightly (by one per cent).

Chart 12: Livestock indicies, ten-year trends relative to 2007

Chart 12: Livestock indicies, ten-year trends relative to 2007

Cattle Tracing Scheme ( CTS) data are derived from an administrative data source which records cattle movements across Great Britain and which replaced the collection of cattle data via the census in 2013. All the cattle data used in this publication now come from the CTS.

In 2005 the Single Farm Payment ( SFP) scheme was introduced, which decoupled subsidy payments from most sheep and cattle production, with the exception of the Scottish Beef Calf Scheme, and with coupled payments for sheep being reintroduced more recently. With the introduction of SFP, the decline in sheep numbers accelerated, with a decrease of ten per cent between 2007 and 2010, although the population has risen slightly in the last few years, rising four per cent since 2014. Cattle numbers have also been in decline, down by 10 per cent between 2007 and 2017.

Notwithstanding a rise in 2010, pig numbers fell steadily between 2007 and 2013. The rise in pig numbers in 2010 (owing to strong pig prices and an increase in the breeding herd), interrupted falls of 13 per cent between 2007 and 2009, and of 23 per cent between 2010 and 2013. Over the period 2013 and 2016, pig numbers recovered a little, increasing five per cent, though there has been a slight decrease in 2017 of one per cent.

Between 2007 and 2017, poultry numbers have generally been around 14 million. There is some variability in the annual poultry data, which can be affected by operational factors such as poultry sheds temporarily being empty, for a period including census day, to allow for cleaning. Following restructuring within the industry in recent years, there was an 11 per cent fall in 2015, but this has been followed by a nine per cent rise since then.

Historically, cattle numbers peaked in 1974 and have been declining since, with levels now back to those seen in the late 1950s. Sheep numbers saw peaks in the 1930s, 1960s and 1990s, but, despite rises in each of the last three years, are currently at levels last seen in the 1940s. Pig numbers saw a large rate of increase in the 1950s, peaking in the 1970s and again in the 1990s, but numbers are now around half of their 1990s peak. Poultry numbers saw a large increase in the 1970s and have generally fluctuated between 13 million and 15 million since then.

3.12 Cattle

Chart 13: Cattle population, June 2017

Chart 13: Cattle population, June 2017

In June 2017, the cattle population was 1.78 million. Considering female cattle aged one year and over, the number of beef cattle was 704,000, or 40 per cent of the total; more than two and a half times greater than the equivalent number of dairy cattle (275,000, or 15 per cent). In both of these categories, the majority of cattle were those over two years old with offspring.

Male cattle aged one year and over made up 15 per cent of the total, while 30 per cent were calves under one year old. The distribution of cattle amongst the categories displayed in Chart 13 is similar to June 2016.

Overall trends in cattle were described in Section 3.11, with the total number falling 185,000 (9.3 per cent) from 1.96 million in 2007 to 1.78 million in 2017. Chart 14 displays the relative trends of cows in the dairy and beef herds since 2007.

Chart 14: Dairy & beef herd trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 14: Dairy & beef herd trends, 2007 to 2017

Total cattle numbers decreased, by 22,500 or 1.2 per cent over the year to June 2017. This, however, represents a modest drop in figures following the drop of 4.8 per cent over the four year period from 2010 to 2014. It must also be noted that this forms part of a downward trend evident since the 1970s.

Differing trends between dairy and beef cattle are seen over the period. The number of dairy cattle dipped slightly between 2009 and 2013, but has been fairly stable since 2014. Beef cattle numbers, meanwhile, have been slowly declining over the period. There have been small decreases across all the main cattle categories between 2016 and 2017.

Limousin remained the most popular breed in Scotland, followed by Aberdeen Angus and Simmental. The top five breeds account for about three quarters of all cattle in Scotland. However, the number of Limousin continues to fall, with a 30 per cent reduction since 2007. Among dairy breeds, Holstein Friesian accounted for over 60 per cent of dairy cattle. Eighty-three per cent of beef cattle were cross-bred, whereas 88 per cent of dairy cattle were pure-bred.

Chart 15: Cattle breeds, by use and whether pure-bred, June 2017

Chart 15: Cattle breeds, by use and whether pure-bred, June 2017

Chart 16: Most popular cattle breeds in Scotland, 2007 to 2017

Chart 16: Most popular cattle breeds in Scotland, 2007 to 2017

Map 3 shows the number of cattle per hectare, using the total area in the parish, not just the area of agricultural land. Where there are too few producers in an area the data are deemed disclosive and so are grouped with a neighbouring area or areas. The overall pattern is not considered to be too adversely affected by this suppression.

Map 3

The latest annual trends between 2016 and 2017 show:

  • A decrease in total cattle of 22,500 (1.2 per cent) to 1.78 million.
  • A decrease in the number of dairy cattle of 1,700 (0.6 per cent) to 275,000.
  • A decrease in the number of beef cattle of 6,700 (0.9 per cent ) to 704,000.
  • A decrease in the number of dairy cows of 750 (0.4 per cent) to 174,000.
  • A decrease in the number of beef cows remained of 3,800 (0.9 per cent) to 433,000.
  • A decrease in the number of calves of 5,600 (1.0 per cent ) to 539,000.

3.13 Sheep

Chart 17: Sheep population, June 2017

Chart 17: Sheep population, June 2017

In June 2017 the sheep population was 6.99 million, a 2.3 per cent increase on 2016. Ewes used for breeding in the previous season accounted for 38 per cent of the total, with rams to be used for service just over one per cent. Lambs made up the largest proportion with 49 per cent and other sheep over one year old accounted for 12 per cent. Lamb numbers increased by 94,000 (2.8 per cent) compared with last year.

Overall trends in the sheep population were described in section 3.11, with the total decreasing by 513,000 (6.8 per cent) from 7.50 million in 2007 to 6.99 million in 2017.

Chart 18 displays trends for breeding ewes and lambs, which in June 2017 made up 87 per cent of the total sheep population. Over the past ten years there has been a decline of 260,000 among ewes for breeding (nine per cent) from 2.92 million in 2007 to 2.66 million in 2017. Numbers declined to 2015, but have risen slightly in the past two years. Over the past decade, lamb numbers decreased by 260,000 (seven per cent) from 3.67 million in 2007 to 3.41 million in 2017. Numbers declined to a low in 2013, but since then numbers have recovered somewhat, with rises the past two years. Until recent years the introduction of Single Farm Payments in 2005 had signalled a steeper decline in sheep numbers than had been witnessed earlier in the decade (following restocking after the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak), with a decrease of 1.13 million sheep evident between 2005 and 2010 (annual average decline of 3.0 per cent).

Chart 18: Ewes for breeding and lambs, trends 2007 to 2017

Chart 18: Ewes for breeding and lambs, trends 2007 to 2017

Map 4 shows the number of sheep per hectare, using the total area in the parish, not just the area of agricultural land. Where there are too few producers in an area the data are deemed disclosive and so are grouped with a neighbouring area or areas. The overall pattern is not considered to be too adversely affected by this suppression.

Map 4

The latest annual trends between 2016 and 2017 show:

  • An increase in total sheep of 160,000 (2.3 per cent) to 6.99 million.
  • An increase in ewes used for breeding of 42,500 (1.6 per cent) to 2.66 million.
  • An increase in lambs of 94,000 (2.8 per cent) to 3.41 million.
  • An increase in other sheep aged one year and over of 21,000 (2.7 per cent) to 820,000.

3.14 Pigs

Chart 19: Pig population, June 2017

Chart 19: Pig population, June 2017

In June 2017 the pig population was 326,000. The breeding herd accounted for 9.8 per cent of the total, with a further 1.2 per cent being gilts (over 50 kg) to be used for future breeding. Boars and barren sows made up only 0.4 and 0.2 per cent of the population respectively, while the vast majority (88 per cent) were other pigs, most of which would be used for meat production.

Chart 20 shows the relative trends over the past ten years of the breeding herd and of other pigs (mostly used for meat production). Note that each data series has a different axis, with breeding herd numbers shown on the left axis and other pig numbers on the right axis.

Overall trends in the pig population were briefly described in Section 3.11, with the total decreasing from 457,000 in 2007 to 326,000 in 2017 (a drop of 29 per cent). Over the same period, the breeding herd decreased by 8,100 (20 per cent) to 32,000 whilst other pigs for fattening decreased by 120,000 (29 per cent) to 288,000.

Pig numbers have been declining steadily since a peak in the late 1990s. They dropped below 300,000 in December 2013 [4] following the closure of the Hall's meat processing factory in late 2012. However pig numbers recovered somewhat between 2013 and 2016. Over the last twelve months total pig numbers decreased slightly by 4,300 (1.3 per cent) to 326,000.

Chart 20: Breeding and other pigs, trends 2007 to 2017

Chart 20: Breeding and other pigs, trends 2007 to 2017

The latest annual trends between 2016 and 2017 show:

  • An decrease in total pigs of 4,300 (1.3 per cent) to 326,000.
  • An increase in the breeding herd of 1,100 (0.4 per cent) to 32,000.
  • An decrease in other pigs (mostly for meat production) of 5,600 (1.9 per cent) to 288,000

3.15 Poultry

Chart 21: Poultry population, June 2017

Chart 21: Poultry population, June 2017

In June 2017 the total poultry population was 14.30 million. In recent years, the number of broilers has declined, and now only account for 44 per cent of the poultry flock. Hens and pullets in, or being reared for, the laying flock now constitute a larger share of the population at 48 per cent. Fowls for breeding accounted for 8 per cent. Other poultry (including turkeys) made up just 0.5 per cent of the total.

Overall trends in the poultry population were described in Section 3.11, with the total fluctuating around 14 million, though restructuring within the industry in 2015 saw the figure dip temporarily to just over 13 million.

Chart 21 shows differing trends over the past ten years for poultry used for meat and egg production. There has been an increase in the number of fowls for producing eggs (up 2.7 million or 64 per cent) between 2007 and 2017. There has been a decrease in broilers and other table birds of 2.3 million (27 per cent) over the last ten years, with particularly large falls since 2012. The breeding flock also fell, by 159,000 (12 per cent) to 1.16 million.

Chart 22: Trends in broiler & table birds, and fowls for producing eggs, 2007 to 2017

Chart 22: Trends in broiler & table birds, and fowls for producing eggs, 2007 to 2017

The EU Directive 1999/74/ EC, which placed minimum requirements on the size and conditions of cage systems was introduced in 2012 and was accompanied by a fall in the number of fowls producing eggs in that year's census. However, the number of fowls producing eggs has risen by 1.86 million in the four years since, linked also to a switch from broiler production. The number of fowls producing eggs in June 2017 was the highest figure over the ten year period.

The latest annual trends between 2016 and 2017 show:

  • An increase in total poultry of 182,000 (1.3 per cent) to 14.30 million
  • An increase in fowls laying eggs for eating of 498,000 (7.9 per cent) to 6.82 million.
  • A decrease in broiler and other table birds of 264,000 (4.1 per cent) to 6.25 million.

3.16 Other Livestock

The number of "horses not for agricultural use" has increased over the past ten years by 1,700 (5 per cent) to 33,000. There were only a small number of horses used for agriculture, totalling 1,200 in 2017, though there has been an increasing trend in their numbers since 2010. There were an estimated 1,360 donkeys in June 2017. Note that data on donkeys were collected separately for the first time in 2015 and, prior to this, some donkeys were included in the non-agricultural horse numbers.

The numbers of farmed deer were fairly stable at around 6,000 until 2013, and have shown a rising trend in the years since 2014. Between 2016 and 2017 the number of deer rose by 1,000 (15 per cent) to 8,000. There were an estimated 1,700 camelids on holdings in June 2017, a small decrease on 2016.

Information on bee hives has been collected since 2014, and returns showed that there were an estimated 4,300 beehives on agricultural holdings in June 2017. This includes any hives that were present on agricultural holdings on census day, whether owned or brought in.

Not every holding completes a census form each year, and so it can take several years to achieve complete coverage for new livestock categories. The estimates for beehives and donkeys include a scaling up of the recorded figures to take into account holdings that have yet to be included in the census sample. These estimates will become more accurate once data have been collected for several years. See notes section 4.5 for more details of methodology.

Note that in chart 23, the data for non-agricultural horses are relative to the right-hand axis, with all other livestock on the left-hand axis.

Chart 23: Other livestock trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 23: Other livestock trends, 2007 to 2017

3.17 Agricultural Labour

Chart 24: Agricultural labour, June 2017

Chart 24: Agricultural labour, June 2017

On the 1st June 2017, there were 67,000 people (headcount) working on agricultural holdings. Working occupiers [5] made up 57 per cent of the total workers (split between 17 per cent full-time and 40 per cent part-time). Regular staff accounted for 31 per cent of total workers (of which more were working full-time than part-time). A further breakdown of the various categories included within regular staff can be found in Chart 30. Casual and seasonal workers represented 12 per cent of the total.

This year, 62 per cent of working occupiers were male. Working male occupiers were more likely to be older, with 36 per cent of male occupiers aged under 55 compared with 41 per cent of female occupiers. It is also evident that the gender profile of occupiers differs between full time (81 per cent male) and part time occupiers (53 per cent male). This data is based solely on those returns which included information on occupier age and gender in 2017.

Chart 25: Age and gender profile of occupiers, June 2017

Chart 25: Age and gender profile of occupiers, June 2017

Between 2016 and 2017, the number of people working in agriculture increased by 3,600 (six per cent). This follows drops in the years 2013 to 2016. The fall in numbers between 2012 and 2016 was largely driven by a drop in the number of working occupiers which fell by 1,200 (3.3 per cent). There was also an increase in the number of casual and seasonal workers, which rose by 1,900 (30 per cent) to 6,350, the highest figure since 2010. These increases in the latest year may be due, at least in part, to an improvement in the data quality in 2017 due to the online collection.

It should be noted that some of the other annual changes in labour in the past may have been affected by changes in the census form. Inclusion of EC Farm Structure Survey ( FSS) questions on the June 2010 census (and the associated redesign of the survey form) led to some labour sections either not being reported correctly or being missed out by survey respondents. In 2011 the census form reverted back to its usual design and, it appears, has resulted in a spike or drop for some labour categories in 2010, particularly evident in the numbers for occupiers and male regular staff.

Looking at longer-term trends, the number of people working on agricultural holdings has fluctuated over the last ten years from a high of 68,400 in 2012 to a low of 63,500 in 2016, the figure for 2016 being the lowest figure since our current records began in 1982. These totals need to be treated with some caution as they include differing trends for full-time and part-time occupiers, and regular employees. Full-time equivalent figures, were they available, might give a different picture. In addition, the drop in numbers of occupiers may be partly due to the fact that, following the addition of the question about non-working occupiers in 2011 [6] , not all holdings would have been included in the census samples in the years afterwards and so had the opportunity to respond. This has potentially resulted in an over-count of the number of working individuals and an undercount in the number of non-working individuals, in the years that followed, though the effect of this decreases each year. In 2017, the functions of the online form may have resulted in an improved level of response to the labour section.

Chart 26 shows that trends for occupiers reflects some similarity with the total workforce figures, portraying a gentle decline over the ten year period, with a slightly steeper drop and recovery in the years 2006 to 2010. Compared with 2007, the total number of working occupiers is now 3,400 lower (8 per cent), whilst the number of regular employees has changed little over the period at around 21,000.

In contrast, the number of casual and seasonal workers - largely associated with the soft fruit sector - is up 2,600 or 47 per cent since 2007. Figures on migrant workers show that 660,000 person working days were undertaken in the year to June 2017. The sharp increase on the previous year is due to increased response to the labour section from those responding using the online form. On the basis that one full time employee works the equivalent of 1,900 hours per year, this figure equates to the equivalent of around 2,700 people working full time (note however that this is a notional figure rather than a headcount).

Chart 26 : Agricultural labour trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 26 : Agricultural labour trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 27 provides a further breakdown of trends in working occupiers. It shows a gentle decline in the number of occupiers working full-time over the period 2007 to 2017. The number of occupiers working part-time but "half-time or more" has been close to around 6,000 since 2007, whereas the number of occupiers working "less than half-time" has been more variable, with a rise of 1,300 (six per cent) between 2008 and 2010 followed by a fall of 3,200 (14 per cent) from 2010 to 2016. However, this category may have been particularly affected by the introduction of the non-working occupier question in 2011. It is also worth noting that high figures in 2010 may be an effect of adding the FSS questions and altering the design of the form for that year. The increase in 2017 may be due, at least in part, to an improvement in the labour data in 2017.

Chart 27 : Occupiers, trends, 2007 to 2017

Chart 27 : Occupiers, trends, 2007 to 2017

Charts 28 and 29 provide a further breakdown of trends in regular employed staff. They show that the overall trends are almost entirely driven by trends in full-time male staff. The numbers of full-time male staff decreased by 830 (6.8 per cent) between 2006 and 2008. Other than 2010, numbers have remained around 11,500. The trend in full-time female staff, meanwhile, was generally upward, with a rise of 280 (18 per cent) over the 10 year period. In both cases, a spike in 2010 is particularly noticeable, but the possible effect of the merger of the 2010 FSS with the Census that year should be borne in mind.

Chart 28: Regular male staff, trends 2007 to 2017

Chart 28: Regular male staff, trends 2007 to 2017

Chart 29: Regular female staff, trends 2007 to 2017

Chart 29: Regular female staff, trends 2007 to 2017

Chart 30: Regular staff, June 2017

Chart 30: Regular staff, June 2017

Chart 30 shows, in greater detail, the relative proportions of regular staff noted in Charts 27 and 28. On the 1st June 2017, there were 21,000 regular staff working on agricultural holdings.

One quarter were members of occupiers' families and a further 21 per cent were business partners in the holding. The remaining staff were hired staff (55 per cent), the majority of whom were males. These proportions are similar to those in 2016.

3.18 Rented land

Information on agricultural crofts and tenancy arrangements is collected in the June agricultural census for those holdings that rent land.

In 2017 there were 1.34 million hectares of land rented (including crofts but excluding seasonal lets). In 2017 rented land accounted for 23 per cent of agricultural land, compared with 29 per cent of agricultural land in 2007. While the area of land under secure tenancy till dropped (down 51,000 hectares), this was countered by a rise of a slightly larger amount in the area associated with fixed term tenancies. Note that areas of land rented under various tenancy agreements are estimated based on data received from holdings. Information on how these figures have been calculated here is available in section 4.12.

Chart 31: Proportion of total area under a full tenancy or rented croft, 2007 to 2017

Chart 31: Proportion of total area under a full tenancy or rented croft, 2007 to 2017

Map 5 shows the geographic distribution of tenanted land (excluding crofts). Tenanted land was more prevalent south of the central belt, in Angus and Moray and around the mouth of the Clyde.

Map 5

3.19 Holdings renting land for one year or more

In 2017 there were 16,100 holdings with rented land. Of these holdings, 9,800 were on the Crofting Commission Register or had recorded they were renting a croft. The other 6,400 holdings had other types of rental arrangement (91 Act tenancy, 91 Act Ltd Partnership, SLDT, LDT, or SLA) only. However, some crofts may also rent land under these other arrangements. Of the 8,100 holdings with crofts that provided data, 75 (0.9 per cent) had other tenancy arrangements in addition to their crofting tenancy. If this proportion is applied to the 1,700 holdings with crofts that have not provided tenancy type data, that would imply that a total of 91 holdings with crofts also have other tenancy arrangements. Summing the 6,300 holdings with non-croft tenancies to these 91 holdings provides us with a figure of 6,400 holdings with non-croft tenancy arrangements.

Table 10 and chart 31 provide these figures from 2008 to 2017. The estimated number of holdings with a (non-croft) tenancy agreement has fallen by 155 (2.7 per cent) since last year, and fallen 1,600 (20 per cent) since 2008.

Chart 32: Number of holdings with a (non-croft) tenancy arrangement, 2008 to 2017

Chart 32: Number of holdings with a (non-croft) tenancy arrangement, 2008 to 2017

As at June 2017 there were six different types of rental arrangements recorded on the Census. They are:

  • Rented croft (found only in crofting counties and areas defined in legislation)
  • Small Landholders Act Tenancy (lease of land only where the tenant provides all equipment, including the house)
  • 91 Act tenancy: A tenancy for one year or more with full security of tenure and succession rights.
  • 91 Act, Ltd Partnership: A tenancy for one year or more where the tenant is in a limited partnership.
  • Short Limited Duration Tenancy ( SLDT): entered into for between one and five years duration.
  • Limited Duration Tenancy ( LDT): entered into on or after Martinmas (28th November) 2003 for ten years or more and with a specific end date.

Please note that although census data on the area of rented land is considered sufficiently complete, a considerable amount of data identifying what type of tenancy they are held under is incomplete. Detailed tenancy information has only been collected on the June Agricultural Census since 2008. Due to some smaller holdings not being sent a census each year, and some sampled holdings not returning a census or not completing this section, complete coverage of all agricultural holdings in Scotland is not available.

Prior to June 2014, where a rented holding's tenancy type was unavailable, it was, in some cases, assumed that the tenancy was a 91 Act tenancy, this being by far the most common tenancy type. However, this means that 91 Act tenancies were over-estimated, and all other tenancy types were potentially under-estimated.

Measures have been taken to improve the accuracy of data on tenancy agreements for the years since 2013, and information on how these figures have been calculated here is available in section 4.12. However, whilst this has improved the quality of the figures, they are not directly comparable with previous years. Finally, a number of smaller, non-commercial holdings have been removed from the census dataset since 2016, reducing the number of holdings with tenancy agreements.

Chart 33a and 33b provide a breakdown of tenancy types from 2008 to 2017. Compared with June 2016, there has been a decrease in the number of holdings with a 91 Act tenancy (down 7.6 per cent) and with a 91 Act partnership (down 8.7 per cent), whilst there have been increases in the number with LDTs (up 11 per cent) and SLDTs (up 10 per cent). The most common tenancy type was 91 Act tenancy, which accounted for 68 per cent of agreements on holdings with non-croft tenancy arrangements, a decrease of four percentage points from the figure in 2016.

Chart 33a: Number of holdings by tenancy type, 2008 to 2017

Chart 33a: Number of holdings by tenancy type, 2008 to 2017

Chart 33b: Croft and non-croft rental arrangements by agreement type, 2008 to 2017

Chart 33b: Croft and non-croft rental arrangements by agreement type, 2008 to 2017

3.20 Holdings renting land on seasonal lets

The current format of the Single Application Form means that we have been unable to provide data on seasonal lets for 2015 to 2017. Please see the 2014 Census Results [7] for the most recent available data.

3.21 Farm types

Farm types represent a classification of the main agricultural activity taking place on holdings, based on their Standard Output ( SO). SOs represent the notional farm-gate worth generated by a holding by applying multipliers (in £s) to its crops and livestock. These are applied uniformly across Scotland. More information on how farm types were calculated in 2016 can be found in section 4.13. The methodology for allocating farms to farm types changed slightly in 2016, and for 2017 updated Standard Output coefficients have been used (2013-based).

The most common farm type was forage (21,100 holdings), followed by cattle and sheep ( LFA) (15,100 holdings) and mixed holdings (4,400). Non- LFA cattle and sheep (2,900), cereal (2,500 holdings) and general cropping farms (1,700 holdings) were fairly prevalent. Horticulture, poultry and dairy farms each numbered between 650 to 850 while pig holdings were the least common farm type (270 holdings).

Map 6 shows the geographic distribution of these farm types. It should be noted, however, that this shows a generalised view by parish rather than by holdings, with a parish being allocated the farm type of whichever category of farm type has the highest total SO total within the parish. The map also splits LFA cattle and sheep into the categories 'beef', 'sheep' and 'other' ( i.e. a more equal mix of cattle and sheep).

While the map shows what the most common type is in a given area, it should not be taken to illustrate where activities most commonly take place. For example, it may be correct to imply from the map that cereal farming generally takes place in the east but, despite it being the dominant farm type in the Highlands, it would be wrong to infer that cattle and sheep are more prevalent there than elsewhere in Scotland. In fact, cattle and sheep are generally found south of the central belt and in Grampian - cattle and sheep only dominate in the north-west because of the relatively little amount of other farming activity undertaken there.

Map 6


Contact

Email: Karren Friel Karren Friel

Telephone: Central Enquiries Unit 0300 244 4000