Cereal harvest falls 11%; spring barley down 15%

Scotland’s 2016 cereal harvest is estimated to have fallen 11% on 2015, according to the Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician.

Final estimates show Scottish farms produced 2.8 million tonnes of cereals this year, including 1.6 million tonnes of barley and 900,000 tonnes of wheat.

The total is 5% lower than the ten-year average.

“There had been no catastrophic weather condition responsible for this, just a series of less than ideal factors affecting the seed bed, growing conditions and the final harvest,” said the Scottish Government.

The results come from a survey of more than 600 cereal farms across Scotland.

The figures show that this year’s fall in production is due to an 8% fall in overall cereal yields.

The total area of land sown has also decreased by 3%, with 428,000 hectares of cereal grown in 2016.

Overall yields averaged around 6.4 tonnes per hectare — ranging from 5.4 tonnes per hectare for spring barley to 8.4 for wheat.

Spring barley, Scotland’s most important cereal crop, is expected to fall 15% to 1.3 million tonnes, the lowest since 1997.

Winter barley saw a 19% fall to 329,000 tonnes, with wheat holding up slightly better with a 9% drop to 926,000 tonnes.

Only oats saw positive results, with the crop topping 200,000 tonnes for the first time since the 1970s.

Oilseed rape had a particularly poor year, with yields averaging around 3.3 tonnes per hectare, resulting in the lowest production since records began in 1992, at 102,000 tonnes.