Agriculture in the United Kingdom

Agriculture in the United Kingdom
A combine harvester in use
A combine harvester in Scotland

Agriculture in the United Kingdom uses around 71% of the country's land area and contributes about 0.6% of its gross value added. The UK produces less than 60% of the food it eats and the industry's share of the national economy is declining. Despite skilled farmers, high technology, fertile soil and subsidies, which primarily come from the European Union, farm earnings are low and falling, mainly due to low prices at the farm gate. With each generation, fewer young people can afford the increasing capital cost of entry into farming and more are discouraged by low earnings. The average age of the British farm holder is now 59.

Recently there have been moves towards organic farming in an attempt to sustain profits, and many farmers now supplement their income by diversifying activities away from pure agriculture. Now, biofuels present new opportunities for farmers against a background of rising fears about fossil fuel prices, energy security, energy sustainability, and climate change. There is increasing awareness that farmers have an important role to play as custodians of the British countryside and wildlife.

The high cost of entry into farming presents a significant barrier. Land prices in the United Kingdom are high. Local authorities recognise this and some offer smallholdings intended to allow those with skill or training but little capital to set up as tenant farmers. Nevertheless, this provision is shrinking and there is an increasing shortage of farmland to let.



A man using a device to shear a sheep
Sheep shearing

The total area on agricultural holdings is about 17.1 million hectares (43 million acres), or 18.3 million including rough grazing land, of which 6.2 million hectares (15.3 million acres) are croppable. During the growing season about half the croppable area is devoted to cereal crops, and of the cereal crop area, more than 65% is wheat. There are about 31 million sheep, 10 million cattle, 9.6 million poultry and 4.5 million pigs. These are arranged on almost 327,000 agricultural holdings, on which the average farmable area is around 54 hectares (130 acres) each. About 70% of farms are owner-occupied or mostly so, the remainder being tenant farmers. Farmers represent an ageing population, partly due to low earnings and barriers to entry, and there are ongoing difficulties in recruiting young people into farming. The average farm holder is now 59 years old.[1][2][3][4]

British farming is intensive and highly mechanised, but the country is so heavily populated that it cannot supply its own food needs. The United Kingdom is a net importer of food, producing only 59% of the food it consumes. In 2010, it exported £14 billion worth of food, feed and drink, and imported £32.5 billion. The vast majority of imports and exports are with other Western European countries.[5][6]

Farming is subsidised, with subsidies to farmers totalling £3.19 billion (after deduction of levies) paid in 2010. These mostly originate from the EU Common Agricultural Policy. The UK receives the fifth largest agricultural subsidy in the EU, with 7% of the subsidy, after France (17%), Spain (13%), Germany (12%), and Italy (10%). There is downward pressure on the subsidies and on 19 November 2010, the EU announced a reform starting in 2013. At the Agriculture in the United Kingdom Seminar 2010, it was thought that subsidies will decrease over time, and that the number of farms and the number of farmers will continue to decline, while the derivatives and futures markets will become more important to farming.[7][8][9][10]

Output volume rose by 1.9% in 2010 compared to 2009, productivity increased 1.6%, and direct subsidies fell by 12%. Since 1973, productivity has grown by 49%, output volumes have increased by 25% and input volumes have fallen by 16%.[11]


1707 to 1750

The United Kingdom was created on 1 May 1707, as a result of the Acts of Union putting into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union. At this time, Jethro Tull, a Berkshire farmer, had recently invented his famous rotating-cylinder seed drill. His 1731 book, The New Horse Hoeing Husbandry, explained the systems and devices he espoused to improve agriculture and had such an impact that its influence can still be seen in some aspects of modern farming. Charles Townsend, a viscount known as "Turnip Townsend", retired from Parliament in 1730 and in the years between then and his death in 1738, introduced turnip farming on a large scale. This created four-crop rotation which allowed fertility to be maintained with much less fallow land. [12][13][14]

1750 to 1850

Between 1750 and 1850, the English population nearly tripled, from an estimated 5.7 million to an estimated 16.6 million, and all these people had to be fed from the domestic food supply. This was achieved through intensified agriculture and land reclamation from the Fens, woodlands, and upland pastures. The crop mix changed too, with wheat and rye replacing barley. Nitrogen fixing plants such as legumes led to sustainable increased yields. These increased yields, combined with improved farming machinery and then-new capitalist ways of organising labour, meant that increased crop production did not require much more manpower, which freed up more people for non-agricultural work. Indeed, by 1850 Britain had the smallest proportion of its population engaged in farming of any country in the world, at 22%.[15][16][17]

A haywain

However, this period included a twenty-year depression in agriculture that started with the end of the Napoleonic Wars and lasted until 1836. So severe was this depression that landlords as well as tenants suffered financial ruin, and large areas of farmland were entirely abandoned. This showed the problems of the ancient landlord and tenant system in running new-style, capital-intensive farms, and it caused concern in Parliament. The system began to distinguish between farm improvements that the tenant should fund, and those the landlord should fund.[18]

Parliament repealed the Corn Laws in 1846. This steadied prices, but agriculture remained prosperous. At that time, Parliament was concerned with the issue of tenant right, i.e. the sum payable to an outgoing tenant for farm improvements that the tenant had funded and, if crops were in the ground when the tenant left, compensation for their value. This was down to local custom and the custom in one place might be very different to another. In 1848 a parliamentary committee examined the possibility of a standardised system, but no Bill on this matter passed through Parliament until 1875.[19]

1850 to 1945

The American Civil War ended in 1865, and by 1875, with new steam-powered railways and ships, the United States was exporting a substantial excess of cereals. At the same time, Britain suffered a series of poor harvests. By 1891 reliable refrigeration technology brought frozen meat from Australia, New Zealand and South America to the British market, and Parliament felt it had to intervene to support British farming. The Agricultural Holdings (England) Act 1875 revamped the law on tenant right such that tenants received consistent levels of compensation for the value of their improvements to the holding and any crops in the ground. It also gave tenants the right to remove fixtures they had provided, increased the period of a Notice to Quit from six months to twelve, and brought in an agricultural dispute resolution procedure.[20]

Some Landlords reacted to the 1875 Act by refusing to let land on a tenancy, instead contracting out the labour to contract farmers. Parliament responded with the Agricultural Holdings (England) Act 1883, which prevented contracting out on terms less favourable than a normal tenancy. Subsequent Agricultural Holdings Acts in 1900 and 1906 further refined the dispute resolution procedure; required landlords to compensate tenants for their damaged crops if the damage was caused by game that the landlord did not allow tenants to kill; allowed tenants to choose for themselves what crops to grow, except in the last year of the tenancy; and prevented penal rents being charged except in special circumstances. The mass of legislation was consolidated in another Act of 1908. Further Agricultural Holdings Acts came into force in 1914, two in 1920, and a further consolidating Act in 1923.[21]

The country's mood during this period was affected by the First World War. There was a national feeling that a man who had fought for his country should be entitled to retire to a smallholding on British land that would provide him with a livelihood. This led to various initiatives, collectively called Homes for Heroes. By 1926 agricultural law had become openly redistributive in favour of ex-servicemen. County Councils had compulsory purchase powers to requisition land they could let as smallholdings on which ex-servicemen were the preferred tenants. The tenant could then buy the land from the Council, and could require the Council to lend them money to fund the purchase as a mortgage. The council could only refuse with the Minister of Agriculture's permission.[22]

The invention of the digging plough was around 1885. It leaves no detectable furrows and breaks the land so that a seed drill can be used for planting. Earlier ploughs were simply large hoes for stirring the soil, drawn by animals, that left furrows suitable for distribution of seed by hand.[23]

1945 to present

The Agriculture Act 1947 broadly revamped agricultural law. It was a reaction to the privations of the Second World War, and was aimed at food security, so as to reduce the risk of a hostile foreign power being able to starve the UK into submission. The Act guaranteed prices, markets and tenure, so that a farmer could be assured that his land would not be taken away and whatever he grew would be sold at a known price. Yet another consolidating Agricultural Holdings Act followed it in 1948. These Acts made it harder to evict tenant farmers. With the new security tenants enjoyed, a system of rent reviews was necessary to take account of land price inflation. There were many other changes in the law, and each of these Acts required negotiations between the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union (NFU) to fix the support price to be paid for each agricultural product. They were enacted in a series of Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts in 1949, 1954, 1963, 1968 and 1972.[24]

The Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 was another far-reaching revamp of the law. At the time it was passed, the Lib-Lab Pact of 1976 needed Plaid Cymru's support in Parliament, and the provisions of this Act were part of Plaid Cymru's price for their vote. This Act allowed for succession of agricultural tenancies, so on a farmer's death, a relative with relevant skills or experience and no holding of his own could inherit the tenancy. This was limited to two generations of tenant.[25]

On government instructions, the Northfield Committee began to review the country's agricultural system in 1977. It did not report until July 1979, by which time Margaret Thatcher's administration held power. The report influenced ongoing discussions between the NFU and the Country Landowners Association (CLA), who were trying to reach an agreement on new Agricultural Holdings legislation that could be presented to Parliament as having industry-wide support. This was agreed in 1984, but the two sides had not been able to agree a fundamental change to the security of tenure legislation. It did change the succession rules for existing tenancies such that a farmer might pass on his tenancy on retirement as well as on death—but no new tenancies from 1984 were to include succession rights.[26]

By this time the then European Economic Community (now the European Community)'s Common Agricultural Policy was having a direct impact on farming. The Agriculture Act 1986 was concerned with the value of the milk quota attached to land, and particularly how it ought to be shared between landlord and tenant. Nowadays, milk quotas are worth less, but other subsidies (largely rolled up into Single Payments) still need to be divided between the parties.[27]


Total income from farming in the United Kingdom was £4.38 billion in 2010, representing about 0.6% of the British national value added in that year. This is a decline of 4.3% in real terms on 2009 and a decline of more than 45% since 1995. Earnings are comparatively low, at £23,953 per full-time person in 2010, which represented a fall of 3.4% from 2009 values in real terms. Agriculture employs 466,000 people, representing 1.52% of the workforce, down more than 32% since 1996. In terms of gross value added in 2009, 83% of the UK's agricultural income originated from England, 9% from Scotland, 4% from Northern Ireland and 3% from Wales.[28][29][30]

In Quotes
"Supermarkets are creaming it [in] while farmers are going to the wall and those things are not unrelated."
Andrew George, Lib Dem agriculture spokesman.[31]
Crop Production value (2009)[32] Rank (largest producers in Europe)[33]
Milk and dairy products    £3,100,000,000 3 (Germany 1, France 2)
Beef and veal £2,200,000,000 4 (France 1, Germany 2)
Wheat £1,800,000,000 3 (France 1, Germany 2)
Poultry meat £1,600,000,000
Fresh vegetables £1,100,000,000
Pig meat £1,000,000,000 9 (Germany 1, Spain 2)
Lamb and mutton £962,000,000 1 (Spain 2, France 3)
Plants and flowers £877,000,000
Barley £645,000,000
Potatoes £644,000,000
Fresh fruit £571,000,000
Eggs £562,000,000
Oil seed rape £475,000,000
Sugar beet £241,000,000

Most farmers of beef cattle or sheep made another net loss in the year to April 2010. Production, veterinary, bedding, property, power and machinery costs all underwent double-digit rises in percentage terms, meaning that the losses in the year to April 2010 increased over last year's losses by over £30/animal. However, wheat exports were much stronger than the previous year.[34]

The UK's egg-laying flock is in decline. It fell by 5½% in one year from June 1999 to May 2000. In 1971, there were 125,258 farms with egg-laying hens. By 1999 this was down to 26,500.[35]


Soil is a complex mix of mineral and organic components, produced when rock is weathered and acted on by living organisms. In the British Isles as far south as the Thames Valley, the soil has been heavily glaciated, which not only ground down the rock but redistributed the resulting matter. As a result, most British soils date from the last Ice Age and are comparatively young, but in level areas and particularly south of the Thames Valley, there are much older soils. Most British soils are 2% to 5% organic and 95% to 98% mineral, but soils such as peat may contain up to 50% organic matter.[36]

Rainfall in Britain exceeds the rate of evaporation. This means that in freely drained areas, soil base material is washed away, which leads to a higher concentration of organic acids in the ground. Thus many British soils are quite acidic, and a large proportion of British farm land needs repeated applications of alkalines (traditionally lime) to remain fertile. Nitrites are also soluble, and the soil has no power to hold them, so rain rapidly carries them away. Acid rain increases soil acidity, but even normal rain tends to be slightly acid, which acidifies British soil.[37][38]

Soffe (2003)[39] summarises the acidity of British soils as follows:-

Land type pH
Sandy heath land 3.5-5.0
Calcareous (chalky) brown soil 6.5-8.0
Upland peat 3.5-4.5
Cultivated soil, non-calcareous 5.0-7.0
Cultivated soil, calcareous 7.0-8.0
Permanent pasture, lowland 5.0-6.0
Permanent pasture, upland 4.5-5.5
Lowland peat 4.0-7.0

This relatively high soil acidity is one of the factors that lead to liming. Lime tends to counteract soil acidity, and with fine particulate soils such as clays, also encourages the formation of a better soil crumb structure that will aerate and help with drainage. Its benefits have been known, if not scientifically understood, since Roman times.

Owing to high rainfall in the UK, less freely drained areas tend to become waterlogged and need to be drained. Wet land may be unable to bear a tractor's weight, and drainage makes soil lighter and more easily worked, improves crops' ability to absorb food because there is more root surface area, stimulates helpful micro-organisms and allows accumulated poisons to be carried away. In Britain field drains are traditionally open ditches, but increasingly, covered pipes have been used in more modern times. Earthworms are important for creating small drainage channels in the soil and helping to move soil particles.[40][41][42]

Soil temperature is a key aspect of its fertility. No appreciable plant growth takes place at temperatures below 4°C. The growth rate increases as temperature rises, up to a maximum limit which is of no relevance to the British Isles. Dark soils tend to absorb more heat, and are therefore preferred.

As crops grow, they absorb nutrients from the soil, so land fertility degrades over time. However, if organic matter poor in nitrogen but rich in carbohydrate is added to the soil, nitrogen is assimilated and fixed. Fertility increases while land is under grass, which helps to accumulate organic matter in the soil. These factors mean that soil is traditionally improved by means of liming, draining, and allowing to lie fallow. It is traditionally fertilised with manure, nitrogen, phosphates, and potash.[43]

Manure, nitrogen and Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ)

a pool of thin brown liquid in a rural setting
A slurry pit in Wales

170 million tonnes of animal excreta is produced annually in the UK. The resulting slurry can pollute watercourses, draining them of oxygen, can contain pathogenic microorganisms such as salmonella, and creates an unpleasant odour that causes complaints. Pigs and poultry, in particular, which tend to be produced intensively on very large holdings with a relatively small land area for the number of animals, create manure that increasingly tends to be processed, either by removing the liquid component and transporting it away, or by composting it, or more recently, by anaerobic digestion to produce methane which is later converted to electricity. In 2011, an increase in the feed in tariff for small-scale biogas production from anaerobic digestion has increased the financial viability of this last option.[44][45]

Farmyard manure is among the best all-round soil fertilisers. Urine contains about half the nitrogen and most of the potash that an animal voids, but tends to drain away, making it both the richest and the most easily lost element of manure. Dung contains the other half of the nitrogen and most of the phosphoric acid and lime. With dung, much of the nitrogen is lost in storage or locked up in slowly released forms, so greater quantities of dung are necessary compared to artificial fertilisers. Manure is most effective when ploughed into the fields while it is still fresh, but this is not practical while crops are growing and in practice, most manure is stored and then applied in winter, or else added in ridges for the root crops.[46][47]

Leguminous plants such as peas, beans or lucerne live in a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria that produce nodules on their roots. The bacteria extract nitrogen from the air and convert it to nitrogenating compounds that benefit the legume. When the legume dies or is harvested, its rotting roots nitrogenate the soil. Nitrogen stimulates plant growth, but overapplication softens the plant tissues, makes them more vulnerable to pests and disease, and reduces resistance to frost. It may be added by nitrogen-fixing crops, but many farmers prefer artificial fertilisers, which are quicker. The negative side-effects of adding nitrogen are mitigated by phosphates.[48]

Nitrogen from soil gets into the water, and can be hazardous to human health. EC Directive 80/778/EEC and 91/676/EEC both mention a ceiling acceptable level of nitrates of 50 mg/litre, which is also the level recommended by the World Health Organisation. In several places in Britain, particularly in the midlands and the south-east, nitrate concentrations occasionally exceed this level and the government has brought in regulations to control nitrate levels in the water. The regulations governing designated Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) aim to protect ground and surface water from contamination with nitrates and manure. The Nitrates Directive was reviewed and expanded in 2008, and with the 2008 expansion, from 1 January 2009 around 68% of English farmland, 14% of Scottish farmland and 4% of Welsh farmland is within a NVZ. The NVZ rules control at what time of year farmers may apply nitrogen or manure to the land and oblige them to keep strict records of nitrogen-containing substances used. They also regulate slurry and manure storage.[49][50][51]

Phosphates and potash

Phosphates stimulate root development in young plants and are therefore particularly valuable for root crops. They also increase yields and speed up plant growth generally. Phosphates are not easily lost from soil, but they mostly occur in very stable forms that are not liberated quickly enough by natural processes, so fertilisation is necessary. Traditionally, phosphate-bearing materials added to soil include bonemeal, powdered slag, and seaweed.[52]

Plants tend to absorb potash during early stages of growth, and potash tends to reduce the problems caused by applying nitrogen. It also increases the weight of an individual cereal grain. Traditional potash sources included applying ash to the land and ploughing in crop residues after the harvest, and artificial potash fertilisers were not used until deposits of potash salts were discovered in Germany in 1861.[53]

Arable farming

Arable farming is the production of crops. As with all plants, crop growth is affected by light, soil, nutrients, water, air, and climate. Crops commonly grown in the United Kingdom include cereals, chiefly wheat, oats and barley; root vegetables, chiefly potatoes and sugar beet; pulse crops such as beans or peas; forage crops such as cabbages, vetches, rape and kale; fruit, particularly apples and pears; and hay for animal feed. From 1992 until 2004, or 2006 for organic farms, there were subsidies for not growing any crops at all. This was called set-aside and resulted from EEC farming policies. From 2007 onwards, set aside subsidies in the UK were withdrawn.[54]

A field of cut crops
Haymaking near Greenham

Seeds may be sown in spring, summer or autumn. Spring-sown crops are vulnerable to drought in May or June. Autumn sowing is usually restricted to frost-hardy types of bean, vetch, or cereal such as winter wheat. Traditional sowing techniques include broadcasting, dibbling, drilling, and ploughing in. Drilling is normally the most economical technique where conditions are dry enough.[55][56]

In 2009, 3,133,000 hectares (7,740,000 acres) of cereal crops were sown in the UK. There were 581,000 hectares (1,440,000 acres) of oil seed rape, 233,000 hectares (580,000 acres) of peas and beans, 149,000 hectares (370,000 acres) of potatoes, and 116,000 hectares (290,000 acres) of sugar beet. Winter crops tend to be planted around mid-September, and spring crops as soon as the soil is ready.[57][58][59]

Ploughing is not always regarded as essential nowadays, but the plough can improve soil by inverting it to improve soil aeration and drainage, release plant food through weathering, and expose harmful pests to predators. It is also an effective method of weed control. Ploughing depth in Britain varies between 5-6 inches in some limestone regions to up to 18 inches in deep stoneless silt land. Most British ploughs are made to turn a furrow of up to about a foot deep, which is relatively shallow compared to some other countries, where furrows of up to 16 inches are common. Other machines used to prepare land include cultivators (to break up land too heavy for a normal plough), harrows (to level the surface of ploughed land), rolls or rollers (used for firming the soil), sprayers and dusters (used to spread herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and fertilisers).[60]

Reaping is the process of harvesting a crop. Traditionally reaping was done with the scythe and reaping hook, but in Britain these have been entirely superseded by machinery. Combine harvesters, so called because they both harvest and thresh the crop, are common. Other machines used include mowers, reapers, binders, harvesters, pea cutters and flax pullers.[61] Once reaped, some crops are brought directly to market. Others need to be threshed to separate the cash crop from the straw and chaff. Wheat, oats, barley, beans and some kinds of small seed (e.g. clover) typically need to be threshed.[62]

Since the Second World War, scientific and technical progress and the removal of tenancy-based restrictions on choice of crop have given British arable farmers a great deal more freedom to plan cropping sequences. Strict crop rotation is no longer technically necessary or even financially desirable. Factors that influence crop sequences include the soil type, weather, the price and availability of labour and power, market outlets, and technical considerations about maintaining soil fertility and crop health. For example, some vigorous crops such as kale or arable silage will, when liberally fertilised, tend to outgrow and smother weeds. Many pests and diseases are crop-specific and the more often a particular crop is taken, the greater the buildup of pests and diseases that attack it.

The farmer will therefore try to design a sequence to sustain high yields, permit adequate weed control, service market needs, and keep the soil free from diseases and pests.


Most diseases of crop plants result from fungus spores that may live in the soil and enter through roots, be airborne and enter the plant through damaged areas or landing on leaf surfaces, or are spread by pests. These spores tend to affect photosynthesis and reduce chlorophyll, often making plants look yellow and affecting growth and marketability of the crop. They are most commonly treated with fungicides, and may be called mildews, rusts, blotches, scabs, wilts, rots or blights. European Union regulations on pesticides are changing, and several important pesticides currently in use will no longer be available. This has potentially quite serious implications for British agriculture.[63][64][65]

Two of the most serious diseases currently affecting crop plants are colony collapse disorder (CCD), a somewhat mysterious effect that is wiping out honeybee colonies worldwide, and varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that also affects honeybees and may be a contributor to CCD. Honeybees pollinate 80% of plants worldwide. In 2007, up to 80% of the bee colonies in some areas were wiped out. Honeybees pollinate crops worth about £200 million a year, and their total contribution to the economy may be as high as £1 billion.[66]


A yellow flower
Common ragwort growing in Scotland. Ragwort is a problem weed throughout the UK

Historically weed control was by hand-pulling of weeds, often during "fallowing" (which means leaving the land to carry no crop for a season, during which time the weeds can be found and removed). In 1896 it was found that a copper sulphate solution would kill broad-leaved weeds without seriously damaging young cereal plants. Other chemical weedkillers were soon discovered and now common chemical weedkiller ingredients include sodium chlorate, copper chloride, sulphuric acid, dinitroorthocresol and dinitrobutylphenol. Hormone-based weedkillers are used to kill weeds more selectively. Although most weeds are vulnerable to at least one of these substances, eradicating all the weeds from a particular area of land will usually require the use of several different weedkillers. The use of pesticides has declined in recent years, and British farmers now use about a third less pesticides than they did in 1983. The crop needing most pesticides is wheat.[67][68][69][70]

Table of important crop weeds

Perennial weeds
Annual grass weeds
Annual broad-leaved weeds
Common name Latin name Crops affected
Barren brome Anisantha sterilis Cereals
Black bindweed Polygonum persicaria Broad-leaved crops
Blackgrass Alopecurus myosuroides Winter cereals
Bracken Pteridium aquilinum Upland and hill grassland
Buttercups Ranunculus spp. Grassland
Charlock Sinapsis arvensis Broad-leaved crops
Chickweed Stellaria media Broad-leaved crops
Cleavers Galium aparine Broad-leaved crops
Corn marigold Chrysanthemum segetum Cereals
Couch Elytrigia repens spp. Grassland
Docks Rumex spp. Grassland
Dove's-foot craneshill Geranium molle Broad-leaved crops
Fat hen Chenopodium album Broad-leaved crops
Hemp nettle Galeopsis spp. Broad-leaved crops
Japanese knotweed Reynoutria japonica Grassland
Knotgrass Polygonum aviculare Broad-leaved crops
Mayweeds Matricaria spp.; Anthemis spp. Broad-leaved crops; cereals
Mouse-eared chickweed Cerastium fontanum Grassland
Redshank Polygonum persicaria Broad-leaved crops
Rushes Juncus spp. Wet grassland
Speedwell Veronica persica Broad-leaved crops
Spurrey Spergula arvensis Broad-leaved crops
Thistles Cirsium spp. Grassland
Wild oats Avena fatua Spring cereals
Winter wild oats Avena ludoviciana Winter cereals


Pests damage crops by removing leaf area, severing roots, or simply gross damage. In the UK, they comprise invertebrates (chiefly nematodes, slugs and insects or insect larvae), mammals (particularly rabbits) and birds (mainly members of the pigeon family). The damage caused by crop pests is considerable. For example, potato cyst nematodes cause over £50 million damage a year in the UK.[72][65]

Table of important crop pests

A close-up photograph of an insect on a green leaf
A peach-potato aphid
Common name Latin name Crops affected[73]
Frit fly Oscinella frit Cereals, forage grasses
Wheat bulb fly Delia coarctata Cereals
Aphids Sitobion avenae; Rhopalosiphum padi Cereals
Cereal cyst nematode Heterodera avenae Cereals
Peach-potato aphid Myzus persicae Potatoes, sugar beet
Potato cyst nematodes Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida Potatoes
Slug Deroceras reticulatum Brassicas
Pigeon Columba palumbus Brassicas
Flea beetles Phyllotreta spp. Brassicas
Cabbage stem flea beetle Psylliodes chrysocephala Brassicas
Pollen beetles Meligethes spp. Brassicas
Cabbage caterpillars Various spp. Brassicas
Millipedes Various spp. Sugar beet
Springtails Onychiurus spp. Sugar beet
Symphylids Scutigerella immaculata Sugar beet
Beet flea beetle Chaetocnema concinna Sugar beet
Black bean aphid Aphis fabae Sugar beet, peas and beans
Beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii Sugar beet
Pea cyst nematode Heterodera goettingiana Peas and beans
Pea and bean weevil Sitona lineatus Peas and beans
Pea aphid Acyrthosiphum pisum Peas and beans
Pea moth Cydia nigricana Peas and beans
Pea midge Contarinia pisi Peas and beans
Bean seed fly Delia platura Peas and beans
Carrot fly Psila rosea Carrots
Willow-carrot aphid Cavariella aegopodii Carrots
Onion fly Delia antiqua Onions
Stem and bulb nematode Ditylenchus dipsaci Onions
Weevils Sitona spp. Forage grasses
Ryegrass mosaic virus Spread by the mite Abacarus hystrix Forage grasses
Clover stem nematode Ditylenchus dipsaci Clover plants

Pastoral farming

Pastoral farming is the breeding of livestock for meat, wool, eggs and milk, and historically (in the UK) for labour. Livestock products are the main element of the UK's agricultural output. The most common meat animals in the United Kingdom are cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry. Overwhelmingly, British wool comes from sheep, with only a few goats or alpacas bred for exotic wools such as cashmere or angora. The vast majority of milk comes from cattle, and eggs from chickens.[74]

Most British farm animals are bred for a particular purpose, so for example, there is a sharp division between cattle bred for the beef trade—early-maturing cattle are best to increase yield, and those that store fat marbled within the muscle rather than as layers outside are preferred for the flavour—and those bred for dairy, where animals with a high milk yield are strongly preferred. Nevertheless, because dairy cattle must calve to produce milk, much of the British beef output is from surplus dairy herd calves.[75][76]

Cattle farming

There are about 17,000 dairy farms in the UK, largely in the west. Average herd size is 86 cows in England, 75 in Wales and 102 in Scotland. Most cows are milked twice a day, and an average dairy cow yields 6,300 litres a year. The most important dairy cattle breed is the ubiquitous British Friesian, which has largely replaced the Dairy Shorthorn in British dairy herds thanks both to its high milk yield and the relatively high quality of the beef it produces.[77][78]

Several light brown cows
Jersey cattle

The UK once produced roughly as much beef as it ate, but this changed in 1996 because of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The BSE crisis led to regulations preventing animals more than 30 months old from entering the food chain, which meant cull cows could no longer be sold for beef. Just under 6 million cattle over this age were destroyed. A Calf Purchase Aid Scheme, under which a further nearly 2 million calves were slaughtered, ended in 1999. In 2002, the UK produced 72% of the beef it ate. Important beef cattle breeds include the Hereford, which is the most popular British beef breed, and the Aberdeen Angus. The once-widespread Beef Shorthorn is now a relatively uncommon sight.[79]

Cows require significant areas of grassland to raise. Dairy cows need 0.4 to 0.5 hectares per cow, including the area needed for winter silage; suckler beef cows can need up to a whole hectare each. The UK produces very little veal, and UK law requires that animals are kept in daylight in groups with bedding and access to hay, silage or straw. This produces "pink" veal which grows more slowly and is less desirable to the continental customer.[80][81]

Sheep farming

Over 41,000 farms in the UK produce sheep, but more than half of breeding ewes are on hill or upland farms suitable for little else. National Parks and heather moors such as the Lake District, the Pennines and Snowdonia in Wales are dominated by sheep farms, as are the Scottish Highlands. In the lowlands, pockets of sheep farms remain. Romney Marsh (which gave its name to the Romney sheep) and The Downs in Kent are famous for their sheep.[82]

The number of sheep farmed in the UK peaked in 1998 at 20.3 million, as a result of the Sheepmeat Regime, a relatively generous EU support initiative first begun in 1980. Numbers declined following the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth, and the UK temporarily lost its place as Europe's largest producer of lamb, although this was recovered later. (Although it is Europe's largest producer, the UK is nevertheless a net importer of lamb, often from New Zealand.)[83]

Nowadays many ewes are housed indoors for lambing, which costs more but facilitates earlier lambing with lower mortality and replacement rates. It also rests and protects the grassland, leading to better early growth and higher stocking rates. Sheep are also important in helping to manage the landscape. Their trampling hinders bracken spread and prevents heather moor from reverting to scrub woodland. Wool production is no longer important in the UK, and nowadays, sheared fleeces are often treated as a waste product.[84]

Pig farming

About 4,600 farms produce pigs, and the UK is 90% self-sufficient in pork, but only about 40% self-sufficient in bacon and ham, which reflects a traditional British preference for these cuts. Nowadays many pig farms in the UK breed intensively-farmed hybrids of types like the large white, British Landrace, Welsh or British Saddleback, and formerly-popular breeds like the Cumberland and small white are extinct. Wild Boar are sometimes farmed. They are presently covered under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and farmers need permission from their local authority to keep them.[85][86]

The UK pig herd is declining, and there are now some units in the US that have more sows than there are in the UK in total. Pigs often used to be kept indoors throughout their lives, but welfare concerns and increased costs have led to more outdoor units, and by 2002 30% of sows were outdoors. In many countries sows are kept tethered in individual stalls, but this system was banned in the UK in 1999, and indoor sows are now housed in groups. Each sow produces an average of 24 piglets a year and will be pregnant or lactating for 340 days a year. This intensive production wears the sows out and about 40% of them need to be replaced each year.[87]

A major byproduct of pig production is slurry. One sow and her piglets can produce ten tonnes of slurry a year. Because regulations limit how much slurry can be loaded onto a given area of land, this means that each sow with her progeny will manure at least 0.8 hectares. This is a problem because pig manure is mildly toxic, owing to the use of copper as a growth enhancer.[88]

Other livestock

The UK has about 73,000 goats, mostly as milk producers; this number is relatively small by EU standards.[Notes 1] Venison production in the UK is mainly from red deer, with a few fallow deer as well, but there are only about 300 venison-producing farms. As noted above, there are about 26,500 farms with chickens. However, more than half the UK's eggs come from fewer than 400 flocks, mostly with more than 50,000 birds each.[90][91]

Livestock movement and record-keeping

Farmers wanting to move their livestock outside their own farms must obey the Disease Control (England) Order 2003, the Disease Control (Wales) Order 2003 or the Disease Control (Interim Measures) (Scotland) Order 2002, as applicable. This means a farmer needs a licence from the Local Authority to move livestock. There are also minimum "standstill" periods once livestock has been moved, so for example, a farmer buying new cattle and moving them onto his farm must then wait six days before taking other cattle to market. Most livestock must be identified. Each individual cow must have a "passport" issued by the British Cattle Movement Service. Other farm animals such as sheep, goats or pigs must have a herd mark.[92][93]


Designated notifiable diseases under the Diseases of Animals Act include anthrax, foot-and-mouth disease, fowl pest, bovine tuberculosis, BSE, scrapie, swine vesicular disease, Aujeszky's disease, enzootic bovine leucosis, rabies and warble fly. Under the Zoonoses Order conditions that can be transmitted to humans, such as brucellosis or salmonella, must also be notified.[94]

A laminated sign
Aftermath of a foot and mouth outbreak in Scotland

The United Kingdom suffered outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in 1967 and 2001, with a less serious outbreak in 2007. There was also an outbreak of bluetongue in 2007. The most serious disease to affect British agriculture was BSE, a cattle brain disease that causes a similar disease in some humans who eat infected meat. It has killed 166 people in Britain since 1994.[95][96]

A current issue is the control of bovine tuberculosis, which can also be carried by badgers. It is alleged that the badgers are infecting the cows. A scientific report for the government recommended a selective cull of badgers, which immediately met with opposition from other scientists. The government is currently consulting on this issue. As of 16 September 2011, a total of 27 online petitions had attracted 65,000 signatures opposing the plan.[97][98][99][100]

Animal welfare

Chickens in cramped conditions
Battery hens

Animal welfare legislation affecting UK agriculture includes the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations 2007 and the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997. The UK has a good reputation for animal welfare, and there are several codes of practice.[101]

Animal welfare[Notes 2] as an issue is increasingly important to the European Union. Although welfare-conscious husbandry can have economic benefits to the farmer, because a happy animal puts on weight more rapidly and will reproduce more easily, the mere fact that an animal is gaining weight or reproducing does not necessarily indicate a high level of animal welfare. Generally there is a tension between the minimum acceptable level of animal welfare for the consumer, the price of the product, and an acceptable margin for the farmer. This tension is resolved by food labelling that enables the consumer to select the price they are prepared to pay for a given level of animal welfare. So for example, some consumers prefer to buy free range eggs even where these are more expensive than eggs from battery hens. Nowadays, there are various welfare assurance schemes in response to consumer pressure.[Notes 3][103][104][105]

Current issues in British agriculture

Organic farming

Organic farming is farming without chemical fertilisers, animal cruelty, most pesticides, genetic modification, or the routine use of drugs, antibiotics or wormers. In the United Kingdom it is supported and encouraged by the Soil Association. The Food Standards Agency says that organic food offers no additional nutritional benefits over the non-organic kind, though the Soil Association disputes this. However, there are definite benefits in terms of conservation and wildlife. In the UK as in most of northern Europe, organic crop yields can be 40%-50% lower than conventional, more intensive farming and labour use can be 10%-25% higher.[106][107][108][109][110]

The Organic Aid Scheme came into effect in 1994, providing grants to fund farmers wishing to convert to organic farming. By the end of 1997 about 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) had been converted under the scheme, at a cost totalling £750,000. In 2000 it increased to 525,000 hectares (1,300,000 acres), and between 1996 and 2000, the number of organic farms increased from 865 to 3500. The global market for organic food is worth £1.2 billion a year and is increasing. The UK's share of the European organic farming market is about 10%.[111][112][113][114]


Biofuels are fuels derived from biomass. They can be used in their pure form to power vehicles, but most commonly they are blended with traditional fuels such as diesel. In 2003, the European Union saw biofuels as an answer to several problems: climate change, energy security and stimulating the rural economy, and agreed the Biofuels Directive to see that production was kickstarted. In 2008, the Gallagher Review expressed concern about the effects of the biofuels initiative and identified the conversion of agricultural land to biofuels production as a factor in rising food prices. The current recommended option is that farmers should use marginal or waste land to produce biofuels and maintain production of food on prime agricultural land.[115]

A field of yellow flowers
Oilseed rape growing in Cornwall

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation ("RTFO") obliges fuel suppliers to see that a certain proportion of the fuel they sell comes from renewable sources. The target for 2009/10 is 3.25% by volume. This presents a potentially useful source of revenue for some farmers.[116]

Biofuel crops grown in the UK include oilseed rape (which is also grown for other purposes), short-rotation coppices such as poplar or willow, and miscanthus. Unfortunately biofuels are quite bulky for their energy yield, which means processing into fuel needs to happen near where the crop is grown; otherwise, most or all of the benefit of biofuels can be lost in transporting the biofuel to the processing area. Such local processing units are not generally available in the UK, and further expansion of this market will depend on politics and industrial finance.[117]


Many farmers struggle to make ends meet from a purely agricultural income, and therefore supplement their finances through non-farming activities. This is called diversification. Since time immemorial sporting rights over farmland, for hunting or trapping game, have had commercial value; nowadays, grouse shooting, deer stalking and fishing are important sporting activities. Fox hunting previously went on, but has been banned in the United Kingdom since February 2005.[118][119]

There are a huge number of ways of diversifying. Farmland may, for example, be converted to equestrian facilities, amenity parkland, country clubs, hotels, golf courses, camping and caravan sites. Farmers open shops, restaurants and even pubs to sell their products.[120]

There is grant funding available for diversification schemes, as well as other farming initiatives, to improve competitiveness in the farming sector, through the Rural Development Programme for England. The scheme runs until 2013, is managed through Defra and has been delivered to date through Regional Development Agencies. Expenditure on the Rural Development Programme for England will remain around £3.7 billion for the 2007-13 programme period, compared with the original planned budget of about £3.9 billion.[121]


An English pastoral scene, with horses and a church in the background
Long Riston in Yorkshire, an old farming community

It was first suggested that farmers could be paid for "producing countryside" in 1969, but the real beginning of positive agri-environmental policy came with the Agriculture Act 1986. The Countryside Stewardship Scheme and local equivalents were run by the Countryside Commission and the Countryside Council for Wales from 1991 until 1996, when they came under ministry control. Nowadays schemes to encourage farmers to think about wildlife conservation and to farm in an environmentally friendly way abound, though actual payments to farmers to support this are comparatively modest.[122]

When EU subsidy regime changes in 2013, farmers will receive a greater proportion of their payments from "management of natural resources and climate action." This forms one of the three "principal objectives" of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy. Details will need to await the 2011 budget.[123][124]

Barriers to entry

In the 1930s land with vacant possession cost an average of £60 per hectare. In 1996 it cost £8,795 per hectare. Between those times retail prices rose by a factor of 35, but agricultural land prices rose by a factor of well over 100. The most extreme change was in 1972, during which year the price per acre more than doubled. Today farming land remains scarce and much in demand, and the market is still rising even in the current recession. Thus the only option for someone who lacks capital for land purchase but wants to farm is to rent land as a tenant farmer. Rents increased by 24% in the year to 25 March 2011. The average across all farms in England, Wales and Scotland is now £70/acre, up from £57/acre; dairy farms cost £80 per acre on average, and arable farms now cost £99 per acre.[125][126][127][128]

Historically tenant farmers, as peasants or villeins, had been exploited and starting in 1875, successive governments enacted legislation to protect them. This trend culminated in the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986, [Notes 4] which consolidated and built on a century-long trend in the law. This Act was so onerous towards landlords that they were reluctant to let land. It became so hard to obtain a tenancy that the farming industry supported reform, which was enacted in the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995. Nowadays most new tenancies in England and Wales are Farm Business Tenancies under the 1995 Act, but the 1986 Act tenancies that are still in force allow for succession, and can be passed down through up to two generations of tenant. The most common route of entry into farming is to succeed to a holding, whether as owner or tenant, so a person's ability to farm is often determined by their family background rather than their skills or qualifications.[129]

County farms

In Quotes
"The private sector is not providing anything like sufficient opportunities for new entrants. Increasingly, holdings are of a size and capital requirement that would be unreachable for a new entrant."
George Dunn, Chief Executive of the Tenant Farmers' Association.[130]

"County farms are the only consistent route of entry into agriculture for young people."
Carolyn Rule, Cabinet member, Cornwall County Council.[131]

Fifty County Councils and Unitary Authorities in England and Wales offer tenancies on smallholdings (called "County Farms") as an entry route into agriculture, but this provision is shrinking. Between 1984 and 2006, the amount of land available as County Farms shrank from 137,664 hectares (340,180 acres) to 96,206 hectares (237,730 acres), a reduction of 30%. The number of tenants on these smallholdings shrank by 58% in the same period to about 2,900. County Farms yielded an operational surplus of £10.6 million to local authorities in the financial year 2008-9. Although County Farms are the main route into farming for new entrants, Local Authorities are under increasing pressure to dispose of County Farms to obtain capital receipts, and some now manage their estate for purposes other than creating a first rung on the farming ladder. Somerset County Council proposes to sell 35 of its 62 County Farms.[132][133][134]

As of March 2009, 39% of County Farms were of 50 acres (20 ha) or smaller, 31% of 50 acres (20 ha) to 100 acres (40 ha), and 30% of 100 acres (40 ha) or more.[134]

See also

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  1. ^ Greece has 5.3 million goats, and Spain, Italy and France well over a million each.[89]
  2. ^ Animal welfare is hard to measure in any scientific sense and largely relies on the knowledge, expertise and instincts of concerned individuals.[102]
  3. ^ The European Egg Marketing Regulations say that "free range" hens are those with continuous daytime access to runs with a certain proportion of vegetation, and that have a maximum stocking density of 1,000 birds per hectare (395 per acre).[102]
  4. ^ In England and Wales—Scots law is different.
  1. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 13-14
  2. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 16
  3. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 21
  4. ^ Sir Donald Curry, quoted in BBC: Farming Crisis as Young Desert Industry, published 7 January 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  5. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 61
  6. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 67
  7. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 99
  8. ^ BBC: Q&A: Agricultural Reform, published 12 October 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  9. ^ BBC: EU plans big changes in farm spending, published 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  10. ^ Key points from the question time session, retrieved from the DEFRA website 12 November 2010.[dead link]
  11. ^ DEFRA 2010, ch. 12
  12. ^ Tull, Jethro: The New Horse Hoeing Husbandry. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  13. ^ Overton 2009, "Crop yields"
  14. ^ BBC: Jethro Tull. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  15. ^ Overton 2009, "More food for more people"
  16. ^ Overton 2009, "Farming systems"
  17. ^ Overton 2009, "More food per worker"
  18. ^ Williams et al 2007, p. 5.
  19. ^ Williams et al 2007, p. 5-6.
  20. ^ Williams et al 2007, p. 7.
  21. ^ Williams et al 2007, p. 8.
  22. ^ Spencer 1927, p. 3-4.
  23. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 125
  24. ^ Williams et al 2007, p. 9-13.
  25. ^ Williams et al 2007, p. 13-14.
  26. ^ Williams et al 2007, p. 14-15.
  27. ^ Williams et al 2007, p. 16.
  28. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 1
  29. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 3
  30. ^ DEFRA 2009, p. 6
  31. ^ Farmers Weekly, 16 September 2011: Vol. 156, No. 12, p. 16.
  32. ^ All data in this column are taken from DEFRA 2009, p. 27
  33. ^ All data in this column are taken from DEFRA 2009, p. 134-135; a dash means the product is not ranked in this source
  34. ^ Farmers Weekly, 29 October 2010: Vol. 153 No. 17, p. 16.
  35. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 558.
  36. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 7
  37. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 9
  38. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 49
  39. ^ Soffe 2003, pp. 29-30.
  40. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 59
  41. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 60
  42. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 61
  43. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 51
  44. ^ Nix et al 1999, pp. 162-164.
  45. ^ Farmers Weekly, 16 September 2011: Vol. 156, No. 12, p. 30.
  46. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 93
  47. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 97
  48. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 76-77
  49. ^ Implementation of the Nitrates Directive, EC Environment Commission. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  50. ^ Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, Environment Agency website. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  51. ^ ABC No. 71, November 2010, p. 394.
  52. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 86-87
  53. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 88
  54. ^ Set-aside, an introduction, Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  55. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 159-160
  56. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 173
  57. ^ AgriStats, Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  58. ^ AgriStats, Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  59. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 147.
  60. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 132 (cultivator), 136 (harrow), 140 (roller) and 142 (sprayer and duster)
  61. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 182
  62. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 197
  63. ^ Soffe 2003, pp. 224-226.
  64. ^ POST 2009, p. 1.
  65. ^ a b POST 2009, p. 4.
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  68. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 151
  69. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 148.
  70. ^ About pesticides, Health and Safety Executive. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  71. ^ These tables are adapted from Soffe 2003, p. 223.
  72. ^ Soffe 2003, pp. 225-228.
  73. ^ This table is adapted from Soffe 2003, p. 228.
  74. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 120.
  75. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 552
  76. ^ Watson and More 1949, p. 553
  77. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 120-122.
  78. ^ The Cattle Site, Friesian. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  79. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 126.
  80. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 124.
  81. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 127.
  82. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 131.
  83. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 131.
  84. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 134.
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  86. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 133.
  87. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 135.
  88. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 136.
  89. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 137.
  90. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 138.
  91. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 139.
  92. ^ Cattle movement reporting, DEFRA website. Retrieved 12 November 2010.[dead link]
  93. ^ Livestock movements, DEFRA website. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
  94. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 576.
  95. ^ BBC: CJD victim "had different gene". Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  96. ^ The Telegraph, Bluetongue spreads from cattle to sheep, published 14 October 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  97. ^ Sir David King: Bovine Tuberculosis in Cattle and Badgers, report of the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Secretary of State, originally submitted 30 July 2007. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  98. ^ DEFRA, Response to the Report of the Chief Scientific Advisor. Retrieved 20 November 2010.[dead link]
  99. ^ DEFRA: TB Control Measures Consultation. Retrieved 20 November 2010.[dead link]
  100. ^ Farmers Weekly, 16 September 2011: Vol. 156 No. 12, p. 6.
  101. ^ Animal Welfare in the UK, an introduction, Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  102. ^ a b Soffe 2003, p. 562.
  103. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 431.
  104. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 438.
  105. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 44.
  106. ^ Food Standards Agency: Organic Review Published, published 29 July 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  107. ^ Soil Association: What is Organic?. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  108. ^ Soil Association: Soil Association response to the Food Standards Agency Organic Review, published 29 July 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  109. ^ BBC: Organic Farms "Best for Wildlife", last updated 3 August 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  110. ^ Soffe 2003, pp. 289 and 294.
  111. ^ Nix et al 1999, p. 192
  112. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 289.
  113. ^ DEFRA: Organic Farming, last updated 23 December 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.[dead link]
  114. ^ Soffe 2005, p. 183.
  115. ^ Renewable Fuels Agency: Executive Summary of the Gallagher Review, last modified 6 July 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  116. ^ Renewable Fuels Agency: About the RTFO, last modified 23 November 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  117. ^ Soffe 2003, p. 129.
  118. ^ Nix et al 1999, p. 108
  119. ^ BBC: Hunt ban forced through Commons, last updated 19 November 2004. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  120. ^ Farmers Weekly, 18 June 2010: Vol. 152 No. 24, p. 24-27
  121. ^ DEFRA;
  122. ^ Nix et al 1999, p. 187
  123. ^ Commission outlines blueprint for forward-looking agricultural policy, European Commission website, published 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  124. ^ Agriculture Committee's first thoughts on Commission plans, European Commission website, published 18 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  125. ^ Nix et al 1999, p. 78
  126. ^ Nix et al 1999, p. 80
  127. ^ Farmers Weekly, 30 October 2009: Vol. 151 No. 18, p. 85.
  128. ^ Farmers Weekly, 10 June 2011: Vol. 155 No. 24, p. 35.
  129. ^ Williams, Fiona: Barriers Facing New Entrants to Farming—An Emphasis on Policy. Aberdeen: Land Economy Research, SAC. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  130. ^ Quoted in Farmers' Weekly Vol. 153 No. 19, 12 November 2010, p. 18.
  131. ^ Quoted in Farmers' Weekly Vol. 153 No. 19, 12 November 2010, p. 19.
  132. ^ Curry 2008, p. 3
  133. ^ Curry 2008, p. 4
  134. ^ a b Farmers' Weekly, Vol. 153 No. 19, 12 November 2010, p. 18.

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