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Farmland Use - All Farmland


The total area of agricultural holdings in Scotland is 5.7 million hectares, equating to 73 per cent of Scotland's total land area (7.8 million hectares) . Just over half of the agricultural land comprised of rough grazing, with about a quarter taken up by grass, and about ten per cent used for crops or left fallow. The remaining land consisted of woodland, ponds, yards or other uses.

Additionally, almost 0.6 million hectares of land is used for the common grazing of livestock.

Amongst the crops grown in Scotland, excluding grass, cereals accounted for around 75 per cent of the cropped land area, with  two-thirds of that being barley (290,000 hectares). There were also considerable area growing wheat (110,000 hectares), oilseed rape (31,000 hectares) and potatoes (27,500 hectares). Amongst the 20,000 hectares of fruit and vegetables, a total of 1,000 hectares of strawberries were grown, mainly under cover, and was the largest source of income in horticulture.

Crop area map


Scottish Regional Agricultural Land Use

Highland, understandably, had the largest share of Scotland's agricultural land, it being the largest area, with 2.12 million hectares (34 per cent), followed by Grampian (11 per cent) and Tayside (ten per cent). Highland also had by far the largest share of grass and rough grazing (37 per cent), and of farmed woodland (34 per cent).

Chart : Distribution of total agricultural area and other land-types by sub-region, June 2016Chart agricultural land use


Grampian and Tayside had the largest share of crop and fallow land in Scotland (32 per cent and 22 per cent respectively of Scotland's total), with Fife and Lothian having the largest proportions of their land as crop or fallow (54 per cent and 36 per cent respectively). By contrast very small areas of land were used for crops and fallow on Shetland, Na h-Eileanan Siar and in Argyll and Bute.


Less Favoured Area and Non-Less Favoured Area

Less Favoured Areas (LFA) is land that is assessed as being disadvantaged, i.e. likely only to be able to support low intensity farming. The vast majority of Scotland's agricultural land is classified as "severely disadvantaged LFA", reflecting the large areas of upland farmland in Scotland. Non-LFA land tends to be located to the east of the country in coastal areas.


UK Agricultural Land Use

The total agricultural area in Scotland, including common grazing, totalled 6.24 million hectares in 2016, representing 80 per cent of the total land area in Scotland. This proportion of total land cover is slightly higher than England (73 percent and Northern Ireland (77 per cent) but lower than Wales (90 per cent).



Just under a quarter of agricultural land in Scotland was rented under a lease lasting one year or more; about 1.32 million hectares. The proportion of land under these tenancies has fallen steadily over time. However, in recent years, this reduction has been offset, in numerical terms at least, by a general increase in seasonal let land.



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