Farming produces a range of food, feed and fibre commodities. This represents a valuable output from the land and other resources used. Volume of agricultural production is considered to be a provisioning service provided by a range of natural capital assets (land, water, air, species and ecological communities). This indicator shows annual changes in the index of output volume which provides an overall measure of total production across the wide range of agricultural commodities. The index is calculated using agreed international standards. Farm practices and the use of inputs (particularly fertilisers and pesticides) directly influence the environmental pressures from farming including the quality, composition and availability of habitats and impact on air, water and soils. This indicator should therefore be viewed alongside indicator ‘E3 Volume of inputs used in agricultural production’ and other indicators in the framework relating to the condition of natural capital assets.
Readiness and links to data
As of 2022, the data published on total factor productivity for England by farm type are no longer labelled as experimental statistics and are therefore considered to be a robust source of data for this indicator. The data presented here are collated via the Farm Business Survey and are updated annually. Data on the total factor productivity of the agricultural industry in the UK are still published as National Statistics.
Figure E2: Volume of agricultural production in England, 1990/1991 to 2021/2022
Table E2: Volume of agricultural production in England, 1990/1991 to 2021/2022
Trend description for E2
Since the start of the series in 1990/1991, the overall volume of agricultural production (outputs) in England has remained relatively stable, with some variation from year to year. Annual variations are generally driven by external factors, in particular weather, affecting growing and harvest and the variation in cropping driven by prices. Following a 5.8% reduction in 2020/2021, attributed to decreases in crop output, livestock meat and livestock products, there has been a 1.7% increase in the latest year in the series (2021/2022)
Assessment of change
An increase in volume of agricultural production has been observed over the short, medium and long-term. It is not possible to categorise this increase as either a simplistic ‘improvement’ or ‘deterioration’ as this will depend on numerous factors around farming practices. This indicator is included in the Outcome Indicator Framework to help interpret the reasons behind changes in ‘E4 Efficiency of agricultural production measured by Total Factor Productivity’, rather than to assess progress for a policy driver in the 25 Year Environment Plan.
Change since 2018 has also been assessed. There has been little or no change in volume of agricultural production since 2018. However, this result is based on only 4 data points so should be considered as indicative and not evidence of a clear trend.
Further information on this assessment, along with details on the methodology, is provided in the Assessment background page. Summaries by 25 Year Environment Plan goal and information on indicator links are presented in the Assessment results pages.
Table E2: Assessment of change
|Component||Subcomponent||Period||Date range||Percentage change||Smoothing function||Assessment of change|
|E2||None||Short term||2015/2016 to 2020/2021||4.45||Loess||Change (increasing)|
|E2||None||Medium term||2010/2011 to 2020/2021||5.45||Loess||Change (increasing)|
|E2||None||Long term||1990/1991 to 2020/2021||8.30||Loess||Change (increasing)|
Note that assessment categories were assigned based on smoothed data, so percent change figures in Table E2 may differ from unsmoothed values quoted elsewhere. It is not possible to define a simplistic desired direction of change for this indicator so cannot assign ‘improvement’ or ‘deterioration’.