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UK: Organic statistics 2011 for land area, livestock and operators released

The latest national statistics for the United Kingdom, produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the organic farming sector were released on 5 July 2012. Whereas many countries, for which 2011 data are available (e.g. France), have shown an increase of organic land, the organic area dropped in the UK.


This release shows information gathered during 2011 for organic crops and livestock produced in the United Kingdom, and the numbers of organic producers/processors who are registered with organic certification bodies in the UK.

The key results are:

  • Land areas
    The total area of organic land in the UK has shown a decrease of 9% between 2010 and 2011 to 656 thousand hectares. The cereals area has seen a similar decrease of 8% to 52'000 hectares, while the vegetables area (including potatoes) has shown a slightly larger decrease of 13% over the year to 16 thousand hectares. Temporary
    and permanent pasture land make up the majority of organic land and therefore drive the change between 2010 and 2011, with temporary pasture showing a decrease of 7% to 116 thousand hectares and permanent pasture decreasing by 9% to 435 thousand hectares.
  • Livestock numbers
    There was mixed news for the UK organic livestock sector with sheep and pig numbers both showing increases on 2010, while cattle and poultry numbers both showed decreases. The sheep sector showed an increase of 18% to 1,162 thousand head, mainly due to large numbers of Welsh operators becoming fully organic. Organic pig numbers rose by 11% to 53 thousand head. Organic poultry numbers showed a large decrease of 27% to 3 million in 2011 as high feed and energy prices continue to increase the pressure on producers. Cattle numbers for the UK have fallen by 4% to 335 thousand head.
  • Producer / processor numbers
    The number of organic producer/processors has fallen again (by 5%) to around 6'900 at the end of 2011. All UK regions have shown decreases with Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber both showing the largest percentage drop of 8%.

Source: Organic Statistics 2011 United Kingdom

Further information

Organic farming in the UK