Farm­ing prof­its in­crease af­ter two years of de­cline

The Oban Times - - FARMING -

TO­TAL in­come from farm­ing is es­ti­mated to have in­creased by £96 mil­lion in 2016, af­ter two years of de­cline.

The chief statis­ti­cian for the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment pub­lished To­tal In­come From Farm­ing (TIFF) es­ti­mates for Scot­land 2014-2016, which con­tains es­ti­mates of TIFF for 2015 and an ini­tial es­ti­mate of 2016 TIFF.

The fig­ures show in­come fell by 16 per cent in 2015 com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year, but ini­tial es­ti­mates for 2016 sug­gest an in­crease of 15 per cent.

Agri­cul­ture was worth £653 mil­lion to the Scot­tish econ­omy in 2015, down from £775 mil­lion in 2014, with sub­si­dies, milk and bar­ley all see­ing big falls.

Over­all, live­stock is es­ti­mated to have seen a small in­crease in value in 2016.

The largest sec­tor, the beef in­dus­try, again re­mained rea­son­ably steady in 2016 af­ter ini­tial falls in price in the first half of the year.

The av­er­age milk price fell 23 per cent in 2015, and nine per cent in 2016. This re­sulted in £126 mil­lion, or 28 per cent, be­ing wiped off the value of milk be­tween 2014 and 2016, down to £ 328 mil­lion.

Eggs dropped back an es­ti­mated nine per cent dur­ing 2016 to £ 83 mil­lion.

Ce­re­als fell 12 per cent in 2015 and a fur­ther eight per cent in 2016, with bar­ley now worth an es­ti­mated £180 mil­lion and wheat £104 mil­lion. Pota­toes saw a boost in 2016, with im­proved ware prices and vol­ume re­sult­ing in an es­ti­mated in- crease of £ 38 mil­lion, or 23 per cent, to £209 mil­lion.

The veg­etable sec­tor saw a small de­crease in value in 2015, but looks more pos­i­tive in 2016, and now stands at an es­ti­mated £123 mil­lion. Fruit, on the other hand, dropped back in 2016 from the very high value of 2015, and now stands at £115 mil­lion, though still on a strongly up­ward trend.

To­tal costs were es­ti­mated to have fallen slightly in both years. Feed costs fell £49 mil­lion in 2015 to £ 532 mil­lion, and may fall fur­ther in 2016 to an es­ti­mated £ 515 mil­lion.

The cost of fer­tiliser was fairly steady in 2015, but is es­ti­mated to have fallen £ 33 mil­lion to £153 mil­lion in 2016. Fuel costs fell 17 per cent in 2015 but look like re­main­ing steady in 2016 at £119 mil­lion.

Labour costs look like in­creas­ing only slightly in 2016, to £ 381 mil­lion, fol­low­ing an eight per cent in­crease in 2015.

Sub­si­dies, in­clud­ing cou­pled sup­port, amounted to £480 mil­lion in 2015 and £ 533 mil­lion in 2016. The 2016 fig­ure, which for ac­count­ing pur­poses is based on the pay­ment year ir­re­spec­tive of when pay­ments are ac­tu­ally made, is made up of £400 mil­lion in pil­lar 1 sup­port, a fur­ther £91 mil­lion in pil­lar 2 pay­ments, and £42 mil­lion in cou­pled sup­port.

In the longer term, in­come from farm­ing has been ris­ing steadily since a dip in the late 1990s. How­ever, within that trend the fig­ures have fluc­tu­ated from year to year.

The pub­li­ca­tion also in­cludes a range of re­lated data. This in­cludes com­par­isons with else­where in the UK, which show Scot­land and Wales con­sis­tently be­low other ar­eas, with North­ern Ire­land at sim­i­lar lev­els to the lower per­form­ing English re­gions.

Scot­tish re­gional es­ti­mates show that, on a per hectare ba­sis, the high­est level of in­come from farm­ing was in the north- east. Pro­duc­tiv­ity in­di­ca­tors, which mea­sure the amount of out­put per in­put, ir­re­spec­tive of prices, show im­proved pro­duc­tiv­ity each year since 2012.

In­come from farm­ing in­for­ma­tion is used to mon­i­tor the per­for­mance of the in­dus­try, but also as part of the cal­cu­la­tion of Scot­tish GDP and in the UK na­tional ac­counts. The 2016 fig­ures will be re­vised next year, once more com­plete data are avail­able.

The fig­ures re­leased re­cently were pro­duced by in­de­pen­dent sta­tis­ti­cal staff, free from any po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence, in ac­cor­dance with pro­fes­sional stan­dards set out in the Code of Prac­tice for Of­fi­cial Sta­tis­tics.

Live­stock is seen to have made a small in­crease in value in 2016.

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