Data show extent of Scottish farm reliance on subsidies

Without grants and subsidies the average farm business income in Scotland would have fallen below zero for the fifth year running in 2013-14.

Figures released by the Scottish government show that in 2013-14, a tough year for farming, the average income of farming businesses was minus £16,000 if excluding financial support.

That year, 43% of farms had an income (including subsidies and grants) equivalent to less than the minimum agricultural wage if calculated per hour of unpaid labour, although 48% were able to generate income one to five times the minimum agricultural wage.

See also: Scottish income slides 18% in 2014

This meant that some farms had to rely on additional income from other activities such as contracting, hosting mobile phone sites, tourism and recreational enterprises.


About 22% of farms had an income of below zero including subsidies and grants, while 14% had got by on an income of zero to £10,000.

The largest proportion of farms (28%) fell into an income bracket of £10,000 to £30,000, while just 7% enjoyed an income of £100,000 or more.

Farms in the lower quartile (bottom 25%) had faced an average income of minus £15,000 including grants and subsidies, with some farms reporting a loss as much as £22,000.

Meanwhile, those in the top quartile had an income five time larger than the average farm business income.