The December survey of Agriculture provides information and evidence on the condition of the agricultural industry in England.
Source agency: Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Designation: National Statistics
Alternative title: December Survey of Agriculture, England
Commercial holdings are defined as those that exceed at least one of the thresholds detailed below.
Thresholds for the EU Farm Structure Survey
Utilised agricultural area Arable land, kitchen gardens, permanent grassland, permanent crops >5 ha
Permanent outdoor crops Fruit, berry, citrus and olive plantations, vineyards and nurseries >1 ha
Outdoor intensive production Hops >0.5 ha
Tobacco >0.5 ha
Cotton >0.5 ha
Fresh vegetables, melons and strawberries, which are outdoors or under low (not accessible) protective cover >0.5 ha
Crops under glass or other (accessible) protective cover Fresh vegetables, melons and strawberries >0.1 ha
Flowers and ornamental plants (excluding nurseries) >0.1 ha
Bovine animals All >10 Head
Pigs All >50 Head
Breeding sows >10 Head
Sheep All >20 Head
Goats All >20 Head
Poultry All >1,000 Head
Hardy nursery stock >1 ha
Mushrooms All mushroom holdings to be included >0
Note: The UK have also re-included holdings with >5ha temporary let out land or temporarily empty pig or poultry sheds.
Further details on all of the data sources used in this workbook can be found on our survey notes and guidance webpage via the link below: https://www.gov.uk/structure-of-the-agricultural-industry-survey-notes-and-guidance
Revisions to the 2009 June Survey data
The 2009 June Survey figures were revised on 16 September 2010.
The 2009 figures were revised for two reasons. Firstly, the new methodology for 2010 employed thresholds to exclude holdings with very small amounts of activity, so revised 2009 figures were required to permit like-for-like comparisons. Secondly, the census prompted a register cleaning exercise that removed inactive holdings from the register.
Revisions to the 2009 December Survey data
The 2009 December Survey figures were revised on 1 March 2011.
The December 2009 figures were revised in line with June 2009 figures for the reasons stated above. From 2010 onwards the December figures only relate to commercial holdings as defined by the EU Farm Structure Survey thresholds.
Changes to the source of December sheep data
"A review of the sources of sheep data as at 1 December was conducted in autumn 2010 to investigate the feasibility of using the Sheep and Goat (SAG) Inventory as the source of sheep data for the February returns to Eurostat and Defra publications of December data. Previously, sheep figures were collected in the annual December Survey of Agriculture at the same time that the SAG Inventory was held in England. This switch of sources would yield internal efficiencies and savings, avoid duplication of effort in data collection and reduce the burden of paperwork on farmers caused by Defra surveys. It would also improve the accuracy of the results, as over 56,000 SAG forms were sent out in England in the 2009 exercise compared with the corresponding December Survey’s sample of 15,000 holdings. The review recommended the SAG Inventory should be the source of English data on sheep at December and therefore questions about sheep were removed from the 2010 December Survey form. Results cover all sheep holdings in England. Data on sheep numbers will continue to be collected through the June Survey (for commercial holdings only)."