In Scotland cattle numbers fell 1.4 %, to 1.71 million with a slight decrease in both beef cattle (down 1.2 %) and dairy cattle (0.6 %). This is the lowest since the 1950s.
Figures published by the Chief Statistician in the Scottish Government from a December agricultural survey also show that the amount of grass silage produced in 2016 saw a 7% fall, alongside reductions in hay and arable silage.
In some areas of agriculture there were increases. The area of winter-sown crops in December 2016 was up on last December at 196,600 hectares, with 2,400 hectares more oilseed rape, 2.300 hectares more wheat, 700 hectares more oats, and 400 hectares more barley.
December sheep numbers increased 1.7 % to 5.04 million.
Pig numbers continued to rise, with an 11 % increase to 368,000.
In the poultry sector, a 19 % increase in the number of broilers resulted in a 7% increase in the total, to 14.4 million.
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