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Welsh organic farming statistics: production

For a full report on Welsh organic farming statistics compiled in 2011 from 2010 data supplied by Defra, see Organic agriculture in Wales: 2010. The main figures are summarized below.

Organic area and holdings

At the end of 2010, about 8% of Welsh agricultural land was fully organic or in conversion. This is a higher proportion than in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The area under organic management increased by more than 50% during 2006-10, but the area under conversion fell during 2010, producing an overall drop in the organic/in conversion area of 2%.

At the end of 2010 there were 1003 organic farms in Wales (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Welsh organic holdings and organically managed land area
Graph of holdings and land area


Organic producers and processors

Organic processors include importers, abattoirs, bakers, stores and wholesalers and also some producers who do their own processing (for instance butchering on the farm). At the end of 2010 there were 163 processors, compared with 167 at the end of 2009, which compares favourably with the rest of the UK.

Table 1. Numbers of organic producers and processors by UK region, 2010

UK regionNo. organic producers onlyNo. of producer/processorsNo. of processors onlyTotal% change 2009/2010
UK474120823387287-3.7
England300117219585131-2.8
Wales1003291341166-0.9
Scotland5336198737-10.1
Northern Ireland204148253-13.7
Source: Defra

Organic cropping

Beef and sheep farming dominate Welsh organic production, and some 85% of organic land in Wales is given over to permanent grassland. The remainder is split between temporary grass (6%) and arable crops (8%). Although less than 0.5% of the land is in horticulture, a relatively high proportion of this is organic.

Table 2. Welsh organic area by land use, 2006-2010
20062007200820092010% change 2009/2010
Cereals21442361300235913191-11%
Other arable15571618316434283317-3%
Potatoes9996994538-15%
Horticulture244322362432379-12%
Total tillage40444397662774956926-8%
Temp grass10564112861012599049474-4%
Total arable land (inc temp grass)1460815683167521739916399-6%
Permanent grass/rough grazing631037897695961104024102464-1%
Woodland/other126212061679220022291%
Total organic area7897395865114393123623121093-2%

Figure 2. Changes in Welsh organically managed area, 2006-2010
barchart of land area


Organic livestock


According to 2010 certification data, organically managed beef and dairy cattle account for about 5% of all cattle in Wales, and 4% of sheep are organic. There were 38,000 laying hens, representing 3.6% of the total in Wales, and 100-300 Welsh organic breeding sows. See Table 3 and Figure 3 below.

Table 3: Welsh fully organic and in-conversion livestock numbers, 2010

Fully organicIn-conversionTotal organicAll WalesOrganic % of All-Wales
All cattle4697550655204011299685%
Dairy cows98212657124782744125%
Beef cows99891541115302366905%
All sheep3423021579835810082377374%
Ewes1637181334417706239958714%
All poultry25222029825251872505983%
Laying hens38389163840510726664%
Table birds10438728010466755684332%
All pigs6901691223033%
Sows3320332301011%
Other livestock 2432202452(No data)-

Figure 3. Welsh organic livestock numbers 2006-10
graph of livestock numbers

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