Statistics released on tenanted agricultural land in Scotland

New statistics on tenanted agricultural land in Scotland have been released by Scotland’s Chief Statistician, which brings together data for 2012 on the number and types of rental agreements, and the rents paid.

The 2012 rent results are apparently calculated on a different basis than previous years, which means that the 2012 rent statistics are not directly comparable with any pre-2012 figures.

The main findings of the statistics include:

  • About a quarter of agricultural land is rented under a tenancy of at least one year. This equates to about one sixth of the entire area of Scotland.
  • There are about 16,500 holdings with tenancies, though excluding crofts there are about 6,700. Around four fifths of tenant-farms (excluding crofts) have a 91 Act secure tenancy.
  • The total area of rented land, and the number of holdings including rented land, have been falling steadily during the entire period covered by this publication.
  • Overall, the average rent per hectare in 2012 was around £32. For farms in Less Favoured Areas (LFA) it was £20 per hectare and for non-LFA farms it was around £119.
  • Rents in the North West, particularly Eileanan An Iar and Shetland, were generally the lowest, with the South West the next lowest. The South East, in particular Fife, had the highest rents. However in most areas there was a broad spread of rents paid per hectare.
  • LFA farms generally had, unsurprisingly, lower rents than those in other areas, though there were many in the more profitable LFA sectors who had higher rents than some in the less profitable non-LFA sectors. Some of these findings were however based on small samples.
  • Between 1998 and 2008 there was little change in the average rent (and hence a reduction in real terms). The average rent then increased by 15% between 2008 and 2011.
  • From the holdings sampled, around 50 holdings (8%) reported that they had received a rent review in 2012; and within this, around 30 holdings had experienced an increase in their rent, equating to 5% of all 600 holdings sampled in 2012.

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