Scottish Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Nitrogen Use Statistics

The Chief Statistician has released more detailed figures on agricultural emissions. Results show that in 2022 total agriculture emissions fell by 3% to 7.7 MtCO­2e. Increased fertiliser prices may have contributed to the decrease in emissions from agriculture in 2022, as usage rates fell from the previous year.

Total agriculture emissions have been in a long-term decline, largely driven by falling livestock numbers. Since the baseline period in 1990, emissions from agriculture have fallen by 12% as cattle and sheep numbers decreased by 19% and 32%, respectively. However, in more recent years, agriculture emissions have been relatively stable, ranging from 7.9 to 8.0 MtCO2e between 2016 and 2021.

The suckler beef subsector has the largest share of Scottish agriculture emissions. In 2022 emissions from suckler beef were 3.2 MtCO2e, 41% of agriculture emissions. From 1990 to 2022 suckler beef emissions fell by 0.6MtCO2e (17%). This was the largest absolute reduction across the agriculture subsectors. Emissions from sheep and dairy beef subsectors have also fallen by 17% from the baseline period. This follows the trend of declining livestock numbers over the same period.

The report also includes emissions and nitrogen use estimates for the average Scottish farm in 2022-23. Nitrogen balance, the difference between total nitrogen input and output, fell by 28% for the average farm from 2021-22 to 2022-23 and resulted in increases for nitrogen use efficiency estimates. These trends were seen for most farm types. On average this was driven by increased farm output. But a larger decrease in nitrogen input from fertiliser was seen for cereal farms.


The full statistical publication with supporting data tables is available at:

Scottish Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Nitrogen Use Statistics 2022-2023

Further context is available on

Published on: 27 June, 2024