We have a new website go to gov.scot

Farm Livestock - All Livestock

All Livestock

The value of agricultural livestock production on farms was around £1.7 billion in Scotland in 2016 and accounted for over half of all agricultural output in Scotland (£2.87 billion).

More detailed livestock output statistics and links to tables and charts of Scottish and UK livestock populations are provided below.


In June 2016, the cattle population was 1.80 million. Looking at those female cattle aged one year and over, the number of beef cattle was 710,000, or 39 per cent of the total; more than two and a half times greater than the number of dairy cattle (278,000, 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 is similar to June 2015.

Overall trends in cattle numbers in the last 10 years show the total number falling 195,000 (9.7 per cent) from an estimated 2 million in 2005 to 1.80 million in 2016.

In 2016 the estimated output value of finished cattle and calves fell marginally by £8 million to £642 million. The value of milk and other dairy products amounted to £328 million a fall of £50 million (13 per cent) on 2015.


In June 2016 the sheep population was 6.83 million, a 1.9 per cent increase on 2015. 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 11 per cent. Lamb numbers increased by 90,000 (2.7 per cent) compared with last year.

Overall trends in the sheep population in the last 10 years show that total sheep decreased by 0.8 million (11 per cent) from 7.63 million in 2006 to 6.83 million in 2016.

The value of finished sheep and lambs was £195 million in 2016 up £23 million (13 per cent) on the previous year. The value of clipwool was unchanged at £6.4 million.


In June 2016 the pig population was 330,000. The breeding herd accounted for 9.4 per cent of the total, with a further 1.3 per cent being gilts (over 50 kg) to be used for future breeding. Boars made up only 0.2 per cent of the population. Barren sows accounted for just 0.2 per cent while the vast majority (89 per cent) were other pigs most of which would be used for meat production.

Overall trends in the pig population in the last 10 years show the pig herd decreasing from 464,000 in 2006 to 330,000 in 2016 (a drop of 29 per cent). Over the same period, the breeding herd decreased by 11,000 (26 per cent) to 31,000 whilst other pigs for fattening decreased by 122,000 (29 per cent) to 299,000.

The output value of the finished pig sector was £89 million in 2016 up £3 million (4 per cent) on 2015.


In June 2016 the total poultry population was 14.11 million. The majority were broilers and other table birds (46 per cent, up from 43 per cent in 2015), followed by pullets and hens in the laying flock (33 per cent, down from 34 per cent in 2015). Pullets being reared for laying accounted for 12 per cent and fowls for breeding eight per cent. Other poultry (including turkeys) made up just under one per cent of the total.

Overall trends in the poultry population over the last 10 years show the total poultry flock fluctuating around 14 million except in 2014 when the closure of several large poultry holdings lead to a temporary fall in the number of poultry.

The value of poultrymeat output was £84 million in 2016 up £19 million (29 per cent) on 2015. The production of eggs for food added a further £83 million (down £8 million on 2015) to the output value of the poultry sector in Scotland.

Other livestock

The number of "horses not for agricultural use" has increased over the past ten years by 4,500 (14 per cent) to 36,000. There were only a small number of horses used for agriculture, totalling 1,300 in 2016, though these have risen in number for five consecutive years. In 2015 data on donkeys were specifically collected for the first time. There were an estimated 1,450 donkeys in June 2016 , prior to 2015 some donkeys were included in the non-agricultural horse numbers.

Since 2005, the number of farmed deer has varied between a high of 7,500 (in 2005) and a low of 5,900 (in 2009). Between 2015 and 2016 the number of deer fell by 690 (1.9 per cent) to 7,000.

There were an estimated 1,800 camelids on holdings in June 2016, similar to the number in 2015.

Income and output volume from livestock  

Income from livestock

Livestock (excluding livestock products) accounts for just under 40 per cent of total farm output, being estimated at £1.10 billion in 2016. The chart below shows output for finished and store, but excludes coupled support, illustrates that cattle remains the biggest earner for Scottish livestock, accounting for £660 million, or 62 per cent of livestock outputs.

Chart : Output value of livestock (excluding subsidies) 2006-2016

Livestock output value 2006 to 2016

The charts below illustrate the varying effect of quantity and price. The greatest volume produced was in beef, accounting for almost half of production by weight. Pig-meat and lamb/mutton are showing broadly similar levels of production, with a increase in poultry-meat production in 2016 to return to the 2014 level. Beef and lamb prices are much higher than pig and poultry meat, with the price of beef almost doubling over the past decade. Lamb prices have shown some fluctuation over the past few years. Pig prices have been rising steadily, but have fallen over the last couple of years.

Chart:  Output volume of meat production (dressed carcass weight) 2006-2016

Livestock tonnage (dcw) 2006 to 2016

Chart : Annual average output price of finished livestock 2006-2016

Livestock prices (dcw) 2006 to 2016

The Economic Report on Scottish Agriculture (ERSA) contains a range of tables and charts including

  • Table A5 : Output and prices of cattle and sheep 2003 to 2016
  • Table A6 : Output and prices of pigs, poultry and livestock products , 2003 to 2016


Comparison with rest of UK

Compared to the rest of the UK, Scotland has relatively larger sectors for sheep (20 per cent) and cattle (18 per cent) than it does of poultry (eight per cent) and pigs (seven per cent).

Northern Ireland had a similar share to Scotland for cattle, but with a much lower share for sheep. Compared to Scotland, Wales had a higher share of sheep and a lower share of other livestock groups (including a particularly low number of pigs).

England, naturally, had the highest share of all livestock groups but with a profile opposite to Scotland, being particularly dominant in the pig and poultry populations and comparatively less so in cattle and sheep.

In Scotland, the number of beef cows (constituting 24 per cent of total cattle in Scotland) was larger than the number of dairy cows (10 per cent), contrasting with the profiles in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where the numbers of dairy outstripped the number of beef cows.


The links listed below provide geographic statistics on the agricultural livestock sector in Scotland. To return to this page use the BACK button on your browser.




If you cannot find what you are looking for contact us directly or use the search tools on the Search Statistics page for more information.

To return to this page use the BACK button on your browser.

Back to top