15 August 2018
The Agricultural Statistics for Jersey for 2017 are published today.
The Agricultural Statistics system now uses a more streamlined approach to data collection and analysis. As a result, publication of the 2017 data has been achieved half way through 2018 rather than a year in arrears. Like the 2016 report the data, trends and figures are expressed graphically and over longer terms so trends can be seen more readily.
The report also contains a new ‘Compliance’ section, as 2017 was the first year of the Rural Support Scheme (RSS) in which rural sector financial support is conditional on compliance with Red Tractor and Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF). Using this approach the RSS aims to purchase ‘public goods’ such as better water quality and biodiversity.
Whilst there has been a reduction in the total number of claimants to the RSS, due to a number of smaller businesses opting to decline external audit schemes as per RES conditionality, the percentage of farmed land ‘under audit’ is now 75% – the highest ever achieved.
The value of exported Jersey Royal potatoes has remained fairly constant since 2010, with growers experiencing a slight improvement in financial returns compared with recent years. The early potato industry now accounts for 95% of revenue in the outdoor crop sector, highlighting the need for increased diversity in crop production.
The value of other exported produce continues to fall, but work on alternative crops hopes to reverse this trend with 260 vergées of hemp planted in 2017 destined for culinary oil and fibre production.
Productivity gains on milk production continue to underpin the dairy sector, with average yields per cow increasing by over 20% over the last seven years. Successful development of value added products and export opportunities, which now account for a quarter of Jersey Dairy revenues, will play an increasingly important role in ensuring financial stability in this sector.
The number of full, part time and seasonal staff employed in the rural economy continues to reduce. Coupled with relatively stable financial returns over the last five years, this indicates higher productivity in the sector, a trend which needs to be encouraged given current labour market challenges.
The Minister for Economic Development, Senator Lyndon Farnham, said “Industry has engaged with the Rural Support Scheme and realises the value of demonstrating sustainable and sympathetic production standards. I am pleased to say many businesses are on track with regard to RSS targets and more training is lined up to help them reach our common goals. The uptake of alternative crops is interesting and exciting, with a considerable hemp area planted this year and tea plantations expanding, and the effect of imported genetics continues to improve productivity in the dairy sector.”
Agricultural Statistics 2017