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The Fourth Statistical Account of East Lothian

Economy

Agriculture

This remains the main economic driver. The mixed farming of the 1950s developed to mainly arable farming with stock, which reflected the good years for arable units in the 1980s and 1990s. Stock numbers reduced throughout the period, as did the cropping acreage related to stock rearing (turnips etc). The switch to white cropping reduced the biodiversity potential of the farmed land. Horses were still used on farms until the mid 1950s however the mechanisation of agriculture was relentless. Mechanisation and in particular the use of hydraulic technology was directly related to the massive reduction in farm labour over the period.

The 1990s saw a serious decline in the financial fortunes of the agricultural industry, mainly due to low world commodity prices. This further reduced the need for farm labour and encouraged the use of part-time and contract labour.

Forestry

This too in 2000, remained important to the economy of the area. One large block of commercial forestry south of the Saltoun/Gifford road owned by Hamilton and Kinneil Estate was rotationally felled and replanted throughout the period. The remaining forestry resource, consisting mainly of farm woodlands, largely remained neglected on a commercial basis but remained an important amenity and landscape resource. Extensive management of farm woodlands was carried out at Cauldshiel and Eaglescairnie under Forestry Commission schemes from 1990.

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