Figures out today reveal the fourth highest Scottish cereal harvest in more than 20 years, despite a delayed harvest due to the wet weather.
Estimates in October - based on crops harvested by October 4 - had suggested the harvest may have been the highest on record. However, some of the later harvested crops had lower yields due to difficult harvesting conditions.
Commenting on the final estimate of the Cereal and Oilseed Rape Harvest 2011, Mr Lochhead said:
"It is good news that the final estimate of cereal and oilseed rape are up on 2010 figures. Despite the wet summer Scotland has managed to harvest the 4th highest yield in 20 years.
"Credit must be given to our farmers who faced challenging conditions to produce a successful harvest and I appreciate it is not all good news for them, with the high moisture content leading to increased production costs.
"Scotland has also done well compared to the rest of the UK - we have seen greater increases in cereal, wheat and oilseed rape production.
"Given the weather and the real risk Scotland faced of a poor harvest, these figures show an excellent result and is testimony to our farmers' skills and hard work."
Key trends between 2010 and 2011 show:
For total cereals:
- production has increased by 135,000 tonnes (4.9 per cent) to 2.856 million tonnes
- this is the 4th highest production in the last 20 years. The highest production levels were in 2008 (at 2.945 million tonnes), followed by 1996 (2.910 million tonnes) and 1992 (2.862 million tonnes)
- areas increased by 21,000 hectares (4.9 per cent) to 446,000 hectares
- average yields remained unchanged at 6.4 tonnes per hectare
For individual crops:
- Wheat production increased by 15,000 tonnes (1.6 per cent) to 933,000 tonnes
- Barley production increased by 133,000 tonnes (8.0 per cent) to 1,798,000 tonnes
- Oats production decreased by 13,000 tonnes (9.7 per cent) to 122,000 tonnes
- Oilseed Rape production increased by 28,000 tonnes (23.1 per cent) to 150,000 tonnes