With over 71% of the land in the UK used for farming, agriculture is still a key player in the landscape of the UK. But what are the important things to observe in the industry? Here, at Silo Cleaning UK, we take a look at the determining factors of the success of the British farming industry.
- Soil type
Britain is a diverse land and that includes soil types. Land in hilly areas is usually reserved for pastoral farming, especially livestock – which is why you’d find a lot of sheep in areas such as Wales. The majority of the lowlands are habitable for growing crops – thanks to the soil’s richness. These conditions are especially ideal for growing grain products and vegetables.
Of course, we all know even small changes in the climate can affect the agricultural industry. Climate is highly regarded as one of the most important factors affecting agriculture – even when it comes to silo cleaning. Ironically, it’s the hardest factor to control – especially in a climate-varied place such as the UK. Hours of sunshine are crucial for growing certain crops successfully. The place in the UK with the most hours of sunshine in the most areas, Scotland, is one of the biggest contributors to farming. Rain is also needed for arable and pastoral farming but there’s always the danger of floods and waterlogged land. Additional climatic factors include high winds, frosts and snow cover.
- The economy
This is one of the biggest non-organic ‘small’ but important things to observe in agriculture. The economy plays a vital role in the success of agriculture in the UK. We are currently 76% self-sufficient in home-grown produce (good news for the silo cleaning sector!) and import the things we can’t grow outside the country. The last government statistics state that the value of UK agricultural production was £25.8 billion – this is the equivalent of 970 million dozen eggs laid by 37.1 million birds and 14.6 billion litres of milk produced by 1.8 million cows. It’s also worth noting the size of the farm and amount of staff can greatly affect the success of a farm. At present, the agricultural industry employs just over 3.4 million people – that’s 1 in 8 people. However, just like most manufacturing industries, machinery is taking over manual jobs usually carried out by humans.
- The EU
Britain’s exit from the EU will affect the agricultural industry. The problem is, experts aren’t sure whether that will be in a good or bad way – or both! In the last report issued by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ‘British food and farming at a glance,’ the UK’s biggest export markets are France, Germany, the Netherlands and the USA. In total, we export £9.37 billion worth of food and drink to EU countries and £4.33 to non-EU countries. In 2015 we exported £18 billion worth of food and drink, which made agriculture one of our top export markets.
Technology is just as fast-growing in farming than most other industries. Yields can be increased using the latest machines and irrigation techniques, greenhouses come with computer-controlled technology and genetic engineering has resulted in plants that can resist drought and disease. It’s now possible to create a mini climate for some crops using the latest technological advances, meaning the chances of a higher yield are ever-increasing.