Poultry dominates British livestock production

A new report has shown that poultry is the most farmed livestock category within Britain. 

Agricultural insurance provider Lycetts has compiled data from Agriculture in the United Kingdom 2016’, Farming Facts & Figures, Wales 2017’ and Scotland’s Agriculture Facts & Figures to provide a snapshot of the nation’s agriculture and livestock scene.

Sheep, cattle, pigs and poultry saw increases from 2015 through to 2016, with the latter representing the most dominant category.

“Poultry is the runaway leader when it comes to the most popular type of livestock in the UK, with 172,607,000 recorded in 2016 – this is also up considerably from the 167,579,000 recorded in 2015,” noted the Lycetts report.

“The next most popular type of livestock across the nation, that being sheep and lambs, is a distant second with 33,943,000 recorded in 2016.

“When it comes to analysing the livestock of specific countries across the UK, poultry is also popular in Scotland – with 10,861,687 non-LFA [less favoured areas] examples and 3,253,061 LFA examples recorded in 2016 – while sheep and lamb is the standout type of livestock in Wales, with 9,810,500 examples recorded in 2016.”

When comparing the number of holdings in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, England has the highest number. At 106,900, the closest country behind it is Scotland, which has less than half at 51,900. Meanwhile, Wales has 35,200 and Northern Ireland 24,500.

“There are plenty of positives to take from the facts and figures released about the UK’s agriculture scene over the past year,” highlighted the report. “Not only is the total area of agricultural land use throughout the nation up from 18,428,000 in 2015 to 18,662,000 in 2016, but the number of livestock seen across the UK has also increased year-on-year in regards to poultry, sheep and lambs, cattle and calves and pigs alike.”

While the livestock sector has been performing well, there are concerns regarding crop areas. Of wheat, barley and oilseed rape, only barley has seen an increase in hectares, up from 1,101,000 in 2015 to 1,122,000 last year. Wheat and oilseed rape were both down year-on-year.

“With the UK’s exit from the European Union creeping ever closer and the level of uncertainty that Brexit is causing across the UK’s agriculture scene, as well as the state of the nation in general, we have found ourselves in a ‘watch this space’ scenario, to see how those involved in the industry adapt their practices to the imminent changes,” concluded the report. 

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