There were some dramatic results in the June 2012 Agricultural Census.
The Census showed a drop of 19% in winter cereals because of the poor conditions of the autumn of 2011 but with a corresponding rise of 18% in the area of spring barley sown.
Total cattle numbers were up 2% in 2012, compared with the previous year, at 1.625 million head. The number of dairy cows increased by 1% at 285,400 head while the number of beef cows increased by 4% to 279,200. This is the third year in which beef cow numbers have increased and the herd is now 9% bigger than in 2009 when numbers had fallen to 257,000. The herd remains around 20% below the high of 345,000 reached in 1998.
The number of breeding ewes is 5% higher than last year. Breeding ewe numbers rose rapidly in the 1990's peaking in 1998 at 1.450 million. After this they fell back by 40% to a low of 876,000 in 2010. The current flock size of 938,000 is the highest recorded since 2007.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 06 Dec 12