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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
Where can I find information on Farming in Britain?

What is farming?

It is the growing of crops and the rearing of animals.

Farming in Britain


Farming contributed £5.6 billion to the UK economy in 2006. The total area of agricultural land in 2006 was 18.7 million hectares, about 77 per cent of the total land area in the United Kingdom (excluding inland water).

Farming in Britain has changed a great deal in the last 30 years. Farming used to employ a great many people in Britain but nowadays, with machinery, a few people can run a huge farm of thousands of hectares.

Agriculture provides around 60 per cent of Britain's food needs even though it employs just 1.4 per cent of the country's labour force. Britain's agriculture is under pressure to change at the moment. Farmers are under pressure to adopt more environmentally friendly methods such as organic farming. Organic farming does not use artificial chemicals that can damage the environment and human health. Its popularity has grown rapidly in recent years.

Agriculture Products

cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish

There are many types of farming in Britain.

Different types of farming occur in different regions of Britain. This is due to the influence of relief, climate (especially precipitation and temperature), soil type and to an extent closeness to the market. Upland areas generally lend themselves to sheep farming. Flat areas to crop production and wet/warm areas to milk and beef production.

Some parts of Britain have excellent soil for crops, while others are used for cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry.

In the north-west of England, Wales and Scotland, farmers keep cattle and sheep. Sheep can survive the cold winters on the hills and moors.

Sheep on the Yorkshire moors

In the south-west of England, the rich grass is ideal for feeding dairy cows.


In the south-east of England and the lowlands of Scotland, grain, potatoes and sugar beet are grown.

Sugar beet crop

In the east of England (East Anglia), wheat, barley and vegetables grow in enormous fields.

wheat crop

Types of Farming:

  • arable (growing of crops and cereals)
    The UK is the fourth largest producer of cereal and oilseed crops in the EU (after France, Germany and Poland) accounting for about 8% of total EU production.
  • pastoral (rearing and production of animals including pigs, chickens, hill farming sheep, beef and dairy cattle)
  • mixed farming (combination of arable and pastoral)
  • horticulture (production of flowers, fruit, vegetables or ornamental plants)
  • market gardening (production of fruit and vegetables)
  • viticulture (grapes).

Principal crops:

  • wheat, (the most widely grown arable crop in the UK)
  • barley,
  • oats,
  • potatoes,
  • sugar beet, (The UK is the fifth largest producer of sugar beet)
  • vegetables,
  • oil seed rape,
  • fruits.

Livestock products:

  • poultry,
  • sheep,
  • cattle,
  • milk,
  • meat,
  • eggs,
  • wool.


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© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2014

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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