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Types of Agriculture in Scotland

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  • 24-03-2021
Types of Agriculture in Scotland

Arable Farming

Arable farming helps to protect small animals, insects, birds and rarer plants, including cornflower. They are usually smaller in size, ranging from 100-250 hectares. These mixed farms, which include arable crops and breeding livestock, are mainly in Grampian. 

Here are the crops that are widely grown in Scotland: 

Spring Barley 

Winter Wheat 

Winter Barley 

Oilseed Rape 

Potatoes (including some other root crops) 

Fruit (including strawberries, blackcurrants, and raspberries) 

Vegetables (peas, carrots, turnips and swedes)

Crofting

In the North and West of Scotland, there are over 750,000 hectares of land in crofting tenure. The climate and the type of land affect agricultural production, affecting the crofters who earn most of their living from the croft. 

A croft was traditionally a small area of ground cultivated to grow crops such as potatoes, oats, rye and bere. Farmers used this to feed the livestock, including the sheep and cattle. 

Hill Farming

So much of Scotland's land is purely dedicated to sheep farming, mixed sheep farming and beef cattle farming; in fact, up to fifty-five per cent of it! The sheep in Scotland have to be adapted properly to cope with the harsh Scottish climate and long winter months that they need to cope with as they spend most of the time outdoors, eating hay and silage. 

If your grass is overgrazed, it can cause erosion in the soil, and on the other hand, under grazing can cause the growth of competitive plants. 

Lowland Livestock and Dairy Farming

Dairy farming is big around Scotland and is a big part of their agricultural life, but there are quite a few pollution risks, including greenhouse gas emissions and erosion. 

The Most Common Areas for Lowland Livestock and Dairy Farms in Scotland Include:

These farms have the following:

Ayrshire 

Dumfries and Galloway 

The Borders of Scotland  

Orkney Caithness 

Some Areas in Tayside 

Some Areas in Grampian

Temporary Grasslands 

Permanent Grasslands 

Arable Land 

Animal Housing  

Forage Stores 

Cattle Yards

What are the Main Produce of Scottish Farms?

Cattle and Sheep

In Scotland, most farms produce sheep and cattle. They are fed grass and remain outside, and only usually out inside when the weather starts to worsen or go into labour. Most of the farms are in less-favoured areas, so many farms have sheep, beef and crops. 

Beef Cattle

Scottish people are really well known for their high-quality beef and the way they look after their livestock. However, over 1.5 million cattle in Scotland in 2018, which had dropped by two per cent from the year before, was the lowest since 1957. 

Scotland holds around 30 per cent of the cattle in the UK and 4 per cent in the whole of Europe. In fact, the total production of Scotland's beef is around £675 million. Most Scottish farmers in the North West of Scotland will raise their cattle from birth until they are ready to be butchered or sold to lowland areas. 

Sheep

Scotland sold around 6.5 million sheep in the year 2018. However, there was a snowstorm, known as ' The Beast from the East, which caused the total numbers of Scotland's sheep flock to fall by around 8 per cent. 

Scotland sold around 6.5 million sheep in the year 2018. However, there was a snowstorm, known as ' The Beast from the East, which caused the total numbers of Scotland's sheep flock to fall by around 8 per cent. 

Scotland's sheep industry is organised into three different tiers, known as:

Upland: These usually produce mule ewe lambs, which are passed onto lowland later on.   

Lowland: These flocks need a better climate to survive, as this gives them a better quality of soil, and they will get improved grazing, which results in a high-quality bred lamb.   

Hill: These are the main breeding flocks of sheep and are usually sold onto farms after breeding. 

Upland: These usually produce mule ewe lambs, which are passed onto lowland later on.  

Lowland: These flocks need a better climate to survive, as this gives them a better quality of soil, and they will get improved grazing, which results in a high-quality bred lamb.  

Hill: These are the main breeding flocks of sheep and are usually sold onto farms after breeding. 

Dairy Farms

In 2015, Scotland owned around 150,000 dairy cows, which produced just under 2 billion litres of milk and was worth just under £4 million, which put Scotland owning around 10 per cent of the dairy herd in the UK. They are mostly situated in the South West of Scotland. 

Pigs

Scotland owns around 10 per cent of the UK's pigs, having around 550 holdings breeding pigs and over 300,000 pigs in 2018. This would add up to about 60,000 tonnes of meat worth £90 million.

Poultry

The egg industry promoted eggs to be a healthy, nutritious and good value for money option. In the UK, egg production is worth around £550 million every year. In 2018, Scotland held around 15 million poultry birds and 7 million chickens. 

Cereals

Most of the cereal farms are in the East of Scotland and mainly consist of barley, for both maltings an animal feed. Scottish farmers also use millings wheat for biscuits and animal feed. 

Potatoes

Scottish farmers produce potatoes for human consumption, and they are one of the most produced crops in Scotland. In fact, most of the potatoes in the UK are produced in Scotland; for example, in 2018, Scotland grew just under 30,000 hectares of potatoes. 

Fruit and Vegetables

Vegetables:  

Fruits:

Peas 

Beans 

Turnips 

Cabbages 

Leaks 

Broccoli 

Mushroom 

Brussel Sprouts

Strawberries 

Raspberries 

Rhubarb

Blackcurrants

Other Livestock

Here are the results for how many animals Scotland had in June 2018:

Horses: 34,400  

Farmed Deer: 9,700 

Donkeys: 1,300 

Beehives: 4,100 

Camelids (including Alpacas and Llamas): 1,900