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Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture 2013


1. Introduction

1.1 Overview of agriculture in Scotland

The total area of agricultural holdings in Scotland was 5.6 million hectares, equating to 73 per cent of Scotland's total land area. Just over half of this comprised rough grazing, with about a quarter taken up by grass, and about ten per cent used for crops or left fallow. The rest consisted of woodland, ponds, yards or other uses.

Amongst the crops grown in Scotland, excluding grass, cereals accounted for 80 per cent of the land area, with nearly three-quarters of that being barley (330,000 hectares). There were also considerable area growing wheat (101,000 hectares), oilseed rape (37,000 hectares) and potatoes (30,000 hectares). Amongst fruit and vegetables, a total of 885 hectares of strawberries were grown, mainly under cover, and was the largest source of income in horticulture (see section 4.1).

Livestock numbers continued to fall in 2012, with 6.74 million sheep, 1.79 million cattle and 363 thousand pigs all being less than in previous years. Poultry numbers were slightly up on 2011 but these tend to fluctuate. In June 2012 they were however at their highest number since 2005 (see section 5.1).

Total Income from Farming (TIFF) was estimated at £746 million in 2011, being made up of £2.80 billion in outputs and £602 million in support payments, offset by £2.66 billion in costs. The initial estimate of TIFF for 2012 was £635 million, though this figure will be revised in January 2014 (see section 3.1).

The Farm Accounts Survey of economically active farms showed that, after accounting for inflation, average income fell in 2011-12 by £1,000, to £45,000, and by £2,000 over the last five years. This is equivalent to a Farm Business Income (FBI) per unit of unpaid labour (those with an entrepreneurial interest in the farm business) of £31,000. Dairy farms generated the highest average income, with an average FBI of £80,000 per farm, though in each sector there was a wide range in results. Around a quarter of Scottish farm businesses surveyed did not generate enough income to remunerate unpaid labour invested in the business with the minimum agricultural wage (see sections 3.4 and 3.6).

Longer term trends, provided by the Net Farm Income (NFI) measure, show that average farm incomes have only recently returned to levels seen in the mid-1990s. Trends vary by farm type, and some, such as cattle and sheep, dairy and mixed farms have achieved the highest level of NFI seen over the last 20 years (see section 3.11).

1.2 Revisions since initial publications

Headline results for each of the collections have already been published on the Scottish Government website at the following locations

June Census results


December Survey results


Total Income from Farming and Farm Accounts Survey results


Since publication, revisions have been made to the June Census results. Please note that, given that the changes are small and do not have a large impact, we have not amended the original headline statistical publications, though they are included in this publication.

The initial estimate of TIFF is always updated the following year to include more complete data, including any revisions in previous years due to changes in methodology. In 2013 we published initial TIFF estimates for 2012, along with revised estimates for previous years. Where revisions have been made, they have been applied retrospectively to ensure comparability across years. The 2012 initial estimates will be revised in the January 2014 publication, along with previous years where necessary (see also Annex B).