10 October 2013
New rural economy statistics for 2012 show that the value of milk produced in Jersey increased, and more cider apple orchards were planted.
However, they also show that there were declines in potato exports and in the area of polythene tunnel cropping.
The figures, published by the Department of the Environment, also include exports from the mail order and plug plant sector for the first time.
Presented in a report by the Environmental Management and Rural Economy Section at Howard Davis Farm, the statistics reveal that the gross value of milk products sold by Jersey Dairy last year increased from £11.6M to £11.9M, an increase of 3%, although overall liquid milk sales in Jersey fell by 1%. The gross sales value of milk delivered to Jersey Dairy after processing increased from 91.5 pence per litre to 94.5 pence, reflecting the work undertaken to develop a export market for their products.
The total number of cattle now stands at 5,152, an increase of 60 on the 2008 figure of 5,092 and 13 from 2011.
Milk yield in the same period has increased from 3,869 litres per cow to 4,303 litres per cow, an 11% increase since the import of semen from international Jersey bulls. However this is slightly down on the milk yield per cow in 2011 due to the wet weather, poor grazing and lower forage quality over the winter period.
Jersey Royal reduction
The report also shows that, for the first time since 2007, there has been a fall of 56 vergées in the area of Jersey Royal potatoes being grown in the Island. In 2011, 18,048 vergées were planted with Jersey Royals, while in 2012, 17,992 vergées were used, representing a year-on-year decrease of 0.3%.
By contrast, there was an increase of 15 vergées in the number of cider apple orchards planted last year, reflecting the growing demand for cider and other products such as apple brandy and eau de vie. However, outdoor fruit and vegetables as a whole saw a decrease in cropped area from 21,242 vergées to 20,766 vergées (a fall of 2%).
Other outdoor vegetable exports increased from £1,211,888 in 2008 to £1,698,704 in 2012 (an increase of 40%).
Challenging market conditions
In total, exports were down by 2,302 tonnes, representing a drop in value of export sales from £30.8M to £27M.
The Assistant Minister for Economic Development, Deputy Carolyn Labey, said “Despite increasing production costs, a difficult growing season and challenging market conditions resulting in a downturn in overall agricultural output, it is encouraging to see that there have been positive developments in the rural sector in 2012. The increase in sales value of the milk delivered to Jersey Dairy shows that the recovery plan for the Jersey Dairy is having an impact.
“The agricultural industry is not only having to deal with the economic downturn but is also having to cope with the vagaries of the weather making trading conditions particularly difficult.”
The total area of glass has declined from 344,887 m2 in 2008 to 291,506 m2, but the area of glass no longer cropped fell from 57,303 m2 in 2008 to 41,875 m2 (a decrease 27%).
The area of polythene tunnels fell from 205,119 m2 in 2008 to 173,781 m2 in 2012 (a decrease of 15%) but the area not cropped increased by 11,222 m2 (a rise of 135%).