EDINA Agricultural Census for England, Wales and Scotland [Agcensus]

EDINA agcensus data provides agricultural census data for England, Scotland and Wales at 2km, 5km or 10km grid square resolution. The Agricultural Census is conducted in June each year by the government departments dealing with Agriculture and Rural Affairs for Scotland, England, and Wales. Farmers are surveyed in each year via a postal questionnaire, with the farmer declaring the agricultural activity on their land. In Scotland the census covers all major agricultural holdings, but in England and Wales a stratified sample of holdings are surveyed. Data for non-surveyed farms is extrapolated from previous years and trends on comparable farms. The respective government departments publish information relating to farm holdings for recognised geographies for the 150 items of data. Algorithms developed by Edinburgh University Data Library convert small area data provided by the government department into grid squares of 2, 5 or 10 km. Dates covered: Great Britain: 1969-1994; England and Wales: 1969-1997; England: 2000-present; Wales: 2000-present; Scotland: 1969-present. The frequency of updating is dependent upon the respective government department collating and publishing the census data for each year prior to supplying EDINA with the data for their processing.

EDINA data is a paid for service. There is a nominal fee per year for unlimited access for UK tertiary education institutions. Non-academic subscriptions are based on the number of potential users or on a per project basis.

Publication date: 2015-09-24


Study area
Temporal extent
1969-01-01    to    2013-12-31

Provenance & quality

Annual census of agricultural and horticultural activities for England, Scotland and Wales is conducted on commercial holdings, defined as holdings of more than 5 ha agricultural land, 1 ha orchards, 0.5 ha vegetables or 0.1 ha of protected crops and ornamentals, or more than 10 cows, 50 pigs, 20 sheep, 20 goats or 1000 poultry. Note that these thresholds have only been in place since 2010. Each farmer declares the agricultural activity on the land via a postal questionnaire. Since the late 1990s the agricultural census in England and Wales has been conducted as a sample survey in which data is only sought from a proportion of holdings in each year, as low as 30% of commercial holdings in some years (approx. 30,000 holdings). Since 2007, cattle numbers have been taken from the Cattle Tracing Scheme. Data for non-surveyed farms are interpolated from the most recent data for those farms using the trends on comparable farms.
The respective government departments collect the 150 items of data and publish information relating to farm holdings for recognised geographies. Edina converts the data obtained from the government departments into 2, 5 and 10 km grid square estimates. Edina uses algorithms which convert the data for recognised geographies, obtained from the government departments, into grid square estimates. The key to transforming the raw data into grid square data is the definition of each geography (e.g. parish, in the case of Scotland) in terms of 1km squares. Agricultural Census items are distributed over those 1km grid squares with the land use category suitable for the census item in question. The categories are defined by the Land use Framework, a 7-fold land-use classification of the same 1km grid squares (the seven land-use categories are agricultural land, upland, woodland, restricted agriculture - natural, restricted agriculture - artificial, urban, and inland water).

Other contacts

EDINA/Data Library Services


Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic categories
Agricultural Practices Geospatial / Map National