Defra has released its provisional farm statistics this morning covering 2019 crop yields, livestock numbers and associated land use.
Key figures are as follows:
Agricultural land and arable crop areas: The total utilised agricultural area (UAA) in the UK has increased to just over 17.5million hectares. The area of total crops and permanent grassland have also seen increases, whereas uncropped arable land has seen a 15.4% decrease.
Crop yields and production: Provisional results for 2019 show higher yields for cereal and oilseed crops when compared with the varying yields and below average production seen in 2018. Yield changes were largely consistent across the regions of the UK.
Wheat: Production in the UK increased by 20.1%, from 13.6million tonnes in 2018 to 16.3 million tonnes in 2019. The UK yield of 9.0 tonnes per hectare is higher than the five year average of 8.3 tonnes per hectare.
Barley: Total production increased by 25.6%, from 6.5 million tonnes in 2018 to 8.2 million tonnes in 2019. The increase was largely due to a higher yield, which increased by 22.7%, from 5.7 tonnes per hectare in 2018 to 7.0 tonne per hectare in 2019. Winter and spring barley both saw increased levels of production in 2019.
Oats: The planted area of oats increased by 6.1% to 182 thousand hectares. The UK yield increased by 19.9% to 6.0 tonnes per hectare and similar increases were seen in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This resulted in an estimated production increase of 27.2% to 1.1 million tonnes in 2019.
Oilseed Rape: The provisional oilseed rape harvest has shown a decrease of 13.0% to just under 1.8 million tonnes in 2019. This was caused by a decrease of 9.2% in the planted area and a decrease in total oilseed rape yield of 4.2%, from 3.4 tonnes per hectare in 2018 to 3.3 tonnes per hectare in 2019. This is just below the five-year average.
Horticultural crops: In 2019, the total area of horticultural crops decreased by 0.9% to 163,000 hectares. Vegetables and salad for human consumption make up the majority (70%) of this area and decreased by 1.2% to 115,000 hectares in 2019.
Livestock: The total number of cattle and calves in the UK fell by 1.4% in 2019 to 9.7 million. The female breeding herd accounts for over a third of the total cattle and stands at 3.4 million head in 2019.
Pigs: The female breeding herd in 2019 saw very little change, remaining at 409,000. Fattening pigs decreased slightly by 0.8% to just under 4.5 million head. The total number of pigs now stands at just under 5.0 million head, a decrease of 0.7%.
Sheep and lambs: In 2019, the number of lambs in the UK remained almost unchanged at 16.6 million and the female breeding flock decreased by 1.2%. This led to a total UK sheep and lamb population of 33.6 million, a decrease of 0.6% compared to 2018.