Study predicts Brexit could halve Scotland’s sheep flock
Scotland’s Rural College researchers found the number of sheep could fall by 56% and beef cows by 28% by 2022.
Sheep numbers in Scotland could fall by more than half and beef cows by more than a quarter due to Brexit, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College have analysed the potential economic impact of three possible post-Brexit trade scenarios.
The first is a free trade agreement with the EU where both the UK and EU retain tariff and quota free access to each other’s markets and the UK maintains EU tariffs to the rest of the world.
The other options analysed were default World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariff regimes with most favoured nation tariffs on imports and exports or unilateral trade liberalisation where there no tariffs on imports but WTO tariffs on exports.
The report predicts prices would remain relatively unchanged under the free trade agreement but would change dramatically under the other two scenarios.
Price changes modelled on differing Brexit trade agreements (SRC/PA)Beef and dairy are prices predicted to rise 23% and 31% higher between 2015 and 2022 under the second option than if that status quo was maintained, while sheep prices are predicted to drop by 29%.
Unilateral trade liberalisation emerges as the most damaging option, hitting prices on all types of farms, with beef down 45%, sheep 27%, milk 8%, barley 5% and wheat 3%.