Here’s Why Most Farmers in Scotland Stopped Growing Crops

Here’s Why Most Farmers in Scotland Stopped Growing Crops

The past couple of years has seen a steep decline of crop farming in the Scottish highlands. As a result, the increasing deer population has reduced the hillsides to clipped lifelessness.

So, what really happened to the once vibrant farming community?

Farmers are Growing Old

The younger generation hates farming passionately. Even the farmer’s children can’t wait to leave the countryside for a life in the city. This has created an ageing population of farmers, who happen to be responsible for feeding the nation. And, most of these people don’t have what it takes to meet the increasing demand for food in the UK.

Ranching is Way Easier

Crop farming is risky, especially when doing it in unpredictable weather. A storm could pass by any time and ruin an entire crop in one swoop. Then there is drought, flood, blights and pests to worry about.

Running a sheep or cow farm, on the other hand, gives the ageing farmer peace of mind. They have more free time, and they can afford to take breaks from farm work every few months. This is particularly less stressful than planting crops, and the profits margins are not so bad either. In fact, the demand for meat products has seen a remarkable acceleration this past few years.

Planting Crops is Expensive

Few people are willing to invest in businesses that tie up a considerable amount of their resources. And when that business relies on the weather, the stakes are even higher. While the UK has one of the highest levels of farm mechanization in Europe, most small farmers cannot afford these machines. They usually depend on cheap labour from the EU, and that too will change with Brexit.

Ranching is not so capital intensive. Once you get the shed out of the way, everything else falls into place. All you need is enough land to graze the livestock and a reserve for medical emergencies.

Increasing Imports

With low production figures plaguing local wheat production, the UK has turned to European markets to meet supply demands. And it’s easy to see why. The cost of producing wheat in some European countries is considerably lower, and they can produce this important crop reliably. This has proved to be a better deal for the UK’s bread milling sector.