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UK Farming Statistics

19 December 2013

UK Farming Statistics: Area of Crops Grown for Bioenergy in England and the UK: 2008 - 2012UK Farming Statistics: Area of Crops Grown for Bioenergy in England and the UK: 2008 - 2012

UK Farming Statistics

According to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority, Defra has released updated experimental statistics on the areas of oilseed rape, sugar beet, wheat, miscanthus, short rotation coppice and straw crops grown in the UK for use as bioenergy. The release also includes a new section on anaerobic digestion. These results will be of interest to policy advisors, non-food crop promoters and processors.

It is important to note that these are experimental statistics. Existing data from a range of sources have been combined to derive crop area estimates and there are certain limitations. They should be viewed and used with caution as the reliability and completeness have not been fully determined and the methodologies for producing them are still evolving, although much of the source data on which they are based are National Statistics. As such the crop area statistics have not yet been shown to meet the quality criteria for National Statistics branding, but are being published to involve users in their development and to help build in quality whilst these statistics are evolving. A fuller description of the limitations of these statistics is provided within each section.

This is the third statistical release on this subject area. The intention is for the notice to be updated annually as the data sources and methodologies evolve. The next update is expected to be released in autumn 2014. Once confirmed the exact date will be published on the internet at:

Key results

  • Approximately 26 thousand hectares or 0.4% of UK arable land planted in 2011 were grown for production of bioenergy during 2012.

  • This comprised of 6 thousand hectares of oilseed rape, 3 thousand hectares of sugar beet and 6 thousand hectares of wheat. These areas produced 303 thousand tonnes of crop for biofuel production for the UK road transport market.

  • A further 8 thousand hectares of miscanthus and 3 thousand hectares of short rotation coppice grown in England were used for bioenergy production. Approximately 45 thousand tonnes of miscanthus and 14 thousand tonnes of short rotation coppice were used in power stations for electricity generation in 2011/12.

  • Around 215 thousand tonnes of straw (approximately 2% of typical production) were used as fuel in biomass power stations in England in 2011/12.

  • In 2012, 389 thousand tonnes of purpose grown crops were fed into on-farm anaerobic digestion plants in the UK, while 16 thousand tonnes were fed into commercial plants.

December 2013

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