11 October 2000
Census shows stable Scots farming

By Shelley Wright

FIGURES released by the Scottish Executive show little sign of any dramatic restructuring in agriculture north of the border.

Final results from the June 2000 agricultural census reveal a marginal drop in the area of Scotland planted with cereals, and a 3% fall in the Scottish dairy herd.

They recorded a drop of only 1% in the beef herd. Total sheep numbers were down by 5% on the year to 9.18 million.

In the intensive livestock sector, the figures belie the predictions of huge reductions in pig numbers, with an increase of 1.7% over 1999 to 558,000 pigs.

The total number of regular staff employed fell by less than 1% to 23,200, but there was a slight increase in the number of working occupiers and spouses.

Whether or not the picture in Scotland is replicated in England and Wales will not be known until much later this year.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture said there were no plans to release its results until December.