Scottish Farm Efficiency : trends and drivers from 1989 to 2020

8 March 2022

A new research brief looks at the technical efficiency of Scottish farms from 1989-2020 using data from the Scottish Farm Business Survey.

Some key findings detailed in the brief include:

  • There is a great deal of variance within farm types, which indicates that for each sector there will be challenges and wide level of performance
  • Key drivers of technical efficiency include farm size and increasing specialisation
  • More farmer led characteristics, such as succession planning and age of the main decision maker, were less consistent estimators
  • Both high levels of subsidy and off-farm income had a depressing effect on technical efficiency, compared to those farms with lower rates of subsidy to turnover, or higher levels of income on farm, compared to off-farm

The brief concludes that considering the potential for new reform of Scottish agricultural policy, which would support sustainable food production and meet the requirements of a net zero carbon target by 2045, the focus of policy interventions should be on promoting improved resource use within our present farming systems.

This report can be downloaded in full below. For further details please contact Andrew Barnes (andrew.barnes@sruc.ac.uk).

Scottish Farm Efficiency: trends and drivers from 1989 to 2020

This work was funded under the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme under the Rural Industries work package, specifically the ‘Resilience of rural economies to key external drivers’ (RD 2.4.1) work stream.

 

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