Data Builder

Data builder

FBS data builder is a specialist interactive system for professionals and researchers. It allows direct interrogation of Farm Business Survey (FBS) data to construct user defined tables.

User Guide

- Contents -

Example: farmer's age by type of farm

Research question: It seems to be a widely held belief that hill livestock farmers are quite a lot older than other farmers. Is this actually true?

No one seems to know how this misconception originated but, as the data from the 2003/04 FBS for England shows, it is quite false (hill livestock farm equates to grazing livestock (LFA) in the table). Only pig farmers and dairy farmers are younger on average. It is in fact horticulture farmers which have the highest average age.

FBS 2005/06 England: Average age of farmer

Farm type Average age
Farm Type Average age
ALL FARM TYPES
53.30
    Cropping
54.50
       Cereals
54.32
       General Cropping
53.99
       Horticulture
55.74
    Livestock
52.48
       Dairy
51.40
       Grazing livestock (lowland)
54.06
       Grazing lifestock (LFA)
52.15
    Mixed and other types
52.63
       Pigs
48.75
       Poultry
53.93
       Mixed
52.84
A similar one-way table can be obtained from the FBS data builder Menu by quoting reference 002194. Notice how the farm types are grouped; "Cropping" is the wider group encompassing "Cereals", "General cropping" and "Horticulture"; its value of 54.50 is the (weighted) average of the three subgroups. This layering is a particular feature of the FBS data builder system which allows data which has to be suppressed at a lower level to be displayed at a higher level

Of course, averages are not everything. It may be that there is a 'cluster of older hill farmers which do not show up in the averages. A fuller picture will be obtained by showing the distribution by age size classes, as in the following table (FBS data builder Menu reference 002195).

FBS 2005/06 England: Number of farms

All Ages <55 55:<65 >=60
Farm Type
<45
45:<50
All Farm Types
59,224
32,476
13,809
18,667
17,890
8,858
Cropping
23,467
11,640
4,465
7,176
7,779
4,047
Cereals
11,749
6,010
2,457
3,554
3,669
2,070
General cropping
7,131
3,419
1,551
1,868
2,566
1,146
Horticulture
4,587
2,211
457
1,754
1,544
831
Livestock
27,122
15,863
6,934
8,929
7,446
3,814
Dairy
12,325
7,510
3,341
4,170
3,512
1,302
Grazing livestock (Lowland)
9,564
5,129
2,065
3,064
2,559
1,876
Grazing livestock (LFA)
5,233
3,223
1,528
1,695
1,374
636
Mixed & other types
8,635
4,973
2,411
2,562
2,665
997

Footnotes:

F Too few observations to give reliable estimate. Try using confidence intervals instead.

This table cannot be easily interpreted because of the difficulty of comparing between rows. It would be better if we expressed the figures as percentages of column totals. This is illustrated by the following table.

FBS 2005/06 England: Number of farms

All Ages <55 55:<65 >=60
Farm Type
<45
45:<50
All Farm Types
100.0%
54.8%
23.3%
31.5%
30.2%
15.0%
Cropping
100.0%
49.6%
19.0%
30.6%
33.1%
17.2%
Cereals
100.0%
51.2%
20.9%
30.2%
31.2%
17.6%
General cropping
100.0%
47.9%
21.8%
26.2%
36.0%
16.1%
Horticulture
100.0%
48.2%
10.0%
38.2%
33.7%
18.1%
Livestock
100.0%
58.5%
25.6%
32.9%
27.5%
14.1%
Dairy
100.0%
60.9%
27.1%
33.8%
28.5%
10.6%
Grazing livestock (Lowland)
100.0%
53.6%
21.6%
32.0%
26.8%
19.6%
Grazing livestock (LFA)
100.0%
61.6%
29.2%
32.4%
26.3%
12.1%
Mixed & other types
100.0%
57.6%
27.9%
29.7%
30.9%
11.5%

Footnotes:

F Too few observations to give reliable estimate. Try using confidence intervals instead.

This table shows that only 12.1% of hill farms are in the over 65 age group, compared with a national percentage of 15.0, and that it is only in the under 55 age groups where the percentage of hill farms is higher than for all farm types. What this table does bring out clearly is that it is on lowland livestock farms that there is a preponderance of over 65s.