National Statistic have estimated that cereal production in Scotland will drop by 9% in 2018, due to bad weather and the ‘beast from the east’ earlier in the year. Spring barley, which accounts for roughly 50% of all crops grown in Scotland, is expected to have fallen by around 10%.
Cereals, other crops and horticulture were worth £829m to the Scottish rural economy in 2017, about a quarter of agricultural output, so the loss due to weather is expected to be around £80m for 2018.
North East MSP and rural affairs spokesperson for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Mike Rumbles has called on the UK and Scottish governments to provide more security and certainty for farm businesses.
Mr Rumbles said:
“It has been a poor year for farmers. No one can be blamed for bad weather but our farm businesses are also reeling from uncertainty over Brexit and the Scottish Government’s atrocious handling of farm support payments over the past three winters.
“It has also been hugely disappointing that the Scottish Government has waited over two years to begin the process of developing a new system of farm support, post 2020.
“Our governments ought to be encouraging and developing our rural economy not undermining it. I want to see both the UK and Scottish governments give a cast iron guarantee that support will continue at the same level and that it will arrive at the same time every year.”
Notes for editors:
- Initial Estimate of the Scottish Cereal and Oilseed Rape Harvest, 2018:https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/10/6067/downloads
- Agriculture facts and figures 2017:https://beta.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/statistics-publication/2017/06/agriculture-facts-figures-2017/documents/00518694-pdf/00518694-pdf/govscot:document/