Utilised agricultural land in UK increased by 1.1%
The total croppable area accounts for just over half (54%) of UAA and remained almost unchanged at 4.8 million hectares in 2016. Permanent grassland accounts for an additional 42% of UAA and is almost 3.8 million hectares in 2016.
The total area of arable crops increased by 0.6%, from 3.8 million hectares in 2015 to almost 3.9 million hectares in 2016.
Cereals and oilseed crops account for the majority (83%) of the total arable crop area. The area of cereal crops increased by 1.7% to just over 2.6 million hectares in 2016. This was mainly due to a 12% increase in the area of spring sown barley between 2015 and 2016.
The areas of wheat and winter barley saw little change over the same period, remaining at 1.7 million hectares and 376 thousand hectares respectively.
The area of oilseed crops decreased by 9.1% in 2016 and now stands at 571 thousand hectares. This was due to a 12% decrease in the area of winter oilseed rape, which fell from 605 thousand hectares in 2015 to 534 thousand hectares in 2016.
The area of horticultural crops accounts for 136 thousand hectares of land and has decreased by 9.1% in 2016. This was driven mainly by the 11% decrease in the area used to grow vegetables and salad for human consumption, which accounts for 68% of the total horticultural area.
The total number of cattle and calves in England is 5.4 million in June 2016, showing an increase of 0.8% since 2015.
The total breeding herd remained almost unchanged between 2015 and 2016 at almost 1.9 million. A small decrease of 0.5% resulted in a dairy herd of 1.2 million animals. This was offset by a 1.2% increase in the beef herd which rose to 721 thousand in 2016.
In 2016 the total number of pigs in England increased by 2.2% to 3.9 million animals. The increase was mainly driven by the rise in the number of fattening pigs, up 2.4% to 3.5 million in 2016. The female breeding herd also increased, rising from 328 thousand in 2015 to 334 thousand in 2016.
The total number of sheep and lambs increased by 0.9%, from 15.1 million in 2015 to almost 15.3 million in 2016. The female breeding flock increased by 0.8% to 7.1 million and the number of lambs increased by 1.0% to 7.8 million. ■