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Farming: Chief Statistician releases first estimates of the 2023 Scottish harvest

By David Porter

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The Chief Statistician has released first estimates of the 2023 Scottish harvest.

Barley yield is down on the previous year.
Barley yield is down on the previous year.

The figures predict that cereal production will remain in line with the ten-year average despite significant challenges during the year, including high input costs and poor weather condition.

Total cereal production is expected to be around 3.0 million tonnes.

Early estimates for yields of barley, oats and oilseed rape are below 2022 levels, but similar to the ten-year averages.

The predicted yield for wheat is also below last year’s figure, but is still higher than the ten-year average.

However, industry experts reported farmers are noticing varying quality in the spring barley harvest due to poor weather conditions.

The report includes provisional 2023 crop area estimates -

Spring barley yield is predicted to be 6.3 tonnes per hectare. Spring barley production is predicted to be 1.5 million tonnes.

Winter barley yield is predicted to be 7.9 tonnes per hectare. Winter barley production is predicted to be around 350 thousand tonnes.

Wheat yield is predicted to be 9.1 tonnes per hectare. Wheat production is predicted to be around 980 thousand tonnes.

Oats yield is predicted to be 6.2 tonnes per hectare. Oats production is predicted to be around 150 thousand tonnes.

Oilseed rape production this year is predicted to reach its highest value in at least twenty years. While the yield is predicted to decrease by 6 per cent, a predicted increase of around 13 per cent in growing area may result in production values well above the ten-year average.

Oilseed rape estimates are not as reliable as those of other crops due to the small amount grown and limited data available

On the whole, total area of cereals grown in Scotland are predicted to be close to the 2022 figures, with a decrease in the area of oats grown and an increase in the oilseed rape area.

The full statistical publication is available with supporting data tables here.

Estimates are based on first soundings of the 2023 harvest at the end of September.

Final results will be released in December after the harvest has finished in Scotland.

Estimates are based on harvest yields given by a panel of experts at a Crop Report Meeting and provisional land use areas from the June Agricultural Census.

Final land use areas will be published in the results of the June Agricultural Census.

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