Agriculture in Wales by Rame Guillaume



    Welsh agriculture is dominated by the pastoral (livestock) sector. According to the latest Welsh Government statistics, in 2013 only 7.65% of the 23,135 active farm holdings in Wales were aimed at crops, horticulture or were a mixture of the two. In addition, some 17,765 holdings were "dormant". Wales has 18% of the UK's total supply of permanent pasture land, and 9% of the UK's total supply of general agricultural land.

    The livestock estimates for 2013 were:

                                              *8.6 million sheeps

                                              *8.1 million poultry( chikens, ducks,...)

                                              *1.1 million cattle

                                              *30.000 pigs

    Wales, unsurprisingly, is home to more than a quarter of the UK's sheep (27%), and an above population share of cattle (11%). Livestock numbers are lower than 2006, perhaps on ongoing recovery from the 2006 foot and mouth crisis. The sheep population, for example, is recovering, but the population is still lower than in 2006 (9.9million).

    The amount of land set aside for agricultural use has slowly increased over the years, from 1.62million hectares in 2001 to 1.71million hectares in 2011. Of that, some 84.5% of it is permanent grassland or rough grazing land.

    When it comes to production, Welsh agriculture is dominated, not by sheep, but by cows. 30% of gross output is dairy products, 23% is cattle (presumably beef). Only 19.4% of agricultural output was based around sheep (presumably meat), but this figure doesn't include wool.

    Dairy farming is the most
    "lucrative" element of Welsh agriculture, providing an estimated income in 2011-12 of £63,900 per farm-compared to the all-farm average of £38,200. However, this figure should be treated with caution due to the well-documented issues surrounding the retail price of milk in particular, as well as possible inflation of incomes via grant schemes.

    In my own opinion, one area that could be targeted for further growth in the same way as red meat are processed dairy products. Wales obviously has a ready supply of milk, so why aren't our cheeses for example being promoted to the same extent? That's not to mention other potential marketable spin-offs : creams, butter, ice creams, gelatos & yogurts and we can conclusively say that the Welsh economy is not
    "reliant on sheep".


    Agriculture in Wales by Rame Guillaume


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