Average farm income in Scotland increased in the 2021-2022 year, rising to its highest level since 2021.

The Scottish government has today (Thursday, March 30) released the 2021/22 farm income figures which show that average farm income – a measure of farm profit after costs – is estimated to be £50,000 in 2021/22 , an increase of over £11,000 on the previous year after adjusting for inflation.

For the first time in at least ten years, the government said, the average farm would have been profitable without support payments.

With support payments excluded, the average farm business made a profit of £5,100 from agricultural, contracting and diversified activities. This was mostly driven by increases in income in dairy and arable farms, it said.

However, across all farm types, 56% of farms would have made a loss in 2021/22 without support. The Scottish government said support payments are a key source of revenue for many livestock farms, especially those in less favoured areas (LFA).

“Current support payments are intended to allow farms to remain in business and be an active part of their local community,” it said.

The results show that commercial dairy farms had a particularly good year with their average income estimated at £162,100 – its highest value since 2012.

The average cereal farm income also reached a record high and increased for the second year in a row to around £84,600 in 2021/22.

This is the highest estimate over the last ten years, driven mainly by increased crop output, particularly from wheat, the government said.

Output and input

Total farm output (including agricultural output, income from support payments and diversified activities) increased by 9% to £275,200.

Agricultural output increased 10%, reflecting strong wholesale prices in 2021-22 across a number of agricultural products, including cereal, milk and livestock, the government said.

Total input costs increased 6% to £225,200 for the average farm, following a dip in the previous year.

The Scottish government said this shows a return to the trend of increasing input costs seen across recent years which have reflected industry wide cost pressures.

The chief statisticain’s figures were calculated from the 2021/22 Farm Business Survey, which covered the 2021 cropping year and the 2021/22 financial year.

The Farm Business Survey is an annual survey of approximately 400 commercial farms with economic activity of at least approximately £20,000.

Farms which do not receive support payments, such as pigs, poultry and horticulture, are not included in the survey.