Market Analysis: Welsh Agricultural Statistics 2012-13
Earlier this month, the Welsh Government published its latest annual statistics for the nation’s agriculture sector. While the data, which covers the 2012-2013 period, is predominantly focused on the dairy and livestock sectors, there were some notable horticultural points of interest included…
The Number Of Horticultural Holdings In Wales
There was a slight decrease in the number of horticultural holdings registered throughout Wales in 2013 – a total of 494 as opposed to 506 the previous year. However, it should be noted that this figure compares favourably to both 2010 and 2011, where there were 337 and 419 holdings respectively.
What Is Horticultural Land In Wales Used For?
Even though the majority of the statistics included in the update focus on 2012 and 2013, there were a few opportunities to map more historical trends.
The amount of land used to grow crops under cover (glass and plastic) has fallen every year since 2008, from a high of 53 hectares to just 34 and 30 hectares in 2012 and 2013. Conversely though, land dedicated for orchards and small fruit production has increased year-on-year from 517 hectares back in 2006 through to 715 last year, although 2013’s total is actually a drop from the high of 773 hectares recorded in the previous year.
Land used for vegetable production – excluding potatoes – has fallen steadily during the last three years: 456 hectares in 2011; 437 hectares in 2012; and 407 hectares in 2013. However, these figures are comparable historically to 2006-07 (420 and 410 hectares respectively) and are considerably higher than both 2008 (just 318 hectares) and 2009 (346 hectares).
Total land used for horticulture fell slightly in 2013 from 1,525 hectares to 1,449 hectares, although this is still significantly higher than during the majority of the last decade. For example, 1,211 hectares were used in 2006 and just 1,045 hectares in 2008.
The statistics also paint an interesting picture of Wales’ current overall position in UK horticulture. In total for 2013, production in Wales covered approximately 1,450 hectares – in the UK as a whole, almost 140,000 hectares were devoted to growing.
To put it rather bluntly, there is less than half the amount of land in Wales used for horticulture than there is in Northern Ireland (approximately 3,100 hectares), while a total of 19,000 hectares are used in Scotland.
Around 400 hectares of land in Wales were used for growing vegetables last year (15,900 hectares in Scotland, 1,400 hectares in Northern Ireland, and more than 98,000 hectares in England), while it’s a similar scenario when comparing the land devoted to orchards and small fruit (Wales 700 hectares; Northern Ireland 900 hectares; Scotland 1,500 hectares; and England 29,900 hectares).
However, Wales does devote more than three times the amount of land to growing ‘other’ horticulture – including hardy nursery stock, bulbs, and flowers – than Northern Ireland does (approximately 300 hectares to just 100).
To read the full Welsh Agricultural Statistics 2012-13, click here