Agriculture in Great Britain

Ex.1. Read and translate the text.

Agriculture in Great Britain

The summer is not very hot and the winter is not very cold. Great Britain is a highly developed industrial country. It lives by manufacture and trade. Its agriculture provides only half the food it needs, the other half of its food has to be imported. Britain is one of the most highly industrialized countries in the world: for every person employed in agriculture, eleven are employed in mining, manufacturing and building. Most UK agriculture is intensive and highly mechanized, with the use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides routine. By European standards it is very efficient, although that does not necessarily make it profitable. This intense nature was compounded in the post-War years, with fields being expanded at the expense of hedgerows. This process has been heavily criticized for damaging biodiversity.

East Anglia and South East England have been centers for grain production, with some areas of South East England also specializing in market gardening. The county of Kent was so well known for this that it is often referred to as the Garden of England and was particularly noted for hop growing. Dairy farming is most prevalent in South West England.

The detailed pattern of modern UK agriculture is heavily influenced by the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union, with a combination of price support and set-aside policy.

Agriculture is intensive and highly mechanized, producing about 60% of the UK's food needs. Agriculture's importance has declined in recent years; including forestry and fishing, it contributed about 1% to the GDP in 2001, down from 2.3% in 1971. In 2001, agricultural products accounted for 4.9% of exports and there was an agricultural trade deficit of almost $13.5 billion (second after Japan). Agriculture engaged 1% of the labor force in 1999.

Just over 26% of Great Britain's land area was devoted to crops in 1998. There were about 240,000 holdings, down from 422,000 in the late 1960s. In Great Britain roughly 70% of the farms are primarily or entirely owner-occupied, but in Northern Ireland nearly all are.

Most British farms produce a variety of products. The type of farming varies with the soil and climate. The better farming land is generally in the lowlands. The eastern areas are predominantly arable, and the western predominantly for grazing. Chief crops (with estimated 1999 production in tons) were barley, 6,510,000; wheat, 14,870,000; potatoes, 7,100,000; sugar beets, 10,228,000; oats, 540,000; and oilseed rape, 1,667,000. Mechanization and research have greatly increased agricultural productivity; between 1989 and 1999, for example, production of wheat per hectare rose 12%; of barley, 7%; and of sugar beets, 32%. Consequently, the United Kingdom in the 1990s produced 60% of its total food needs, whereas prior to World War II (193945), it produced only about 33%, and in 1960, less than half. The estimated number of tractors in the United Kingdom in 1998 was 500,000, as against 55,000 in 1939; some 47,000 combines were also in use.




mining pattern

fertilizers influence

insecticides routine support

profitable set-aside policy

intense nature decline

compound contribute

expand devote

expense primarily

hop growing entirely

damage grazing

biodiversity oilseed rape

prevalent whereas


Ex.2 Ask your friends the questions.


  1. Describe the weather of Great Britain.
  2. Why is Britain one of the most highly industrialized countries in the world? Prove it.
  3. What parts of England have been centers for grain production?
  4. Why is agriculture intensive and highly mechanized in UK?
  5. Where is the better farming land in Great Britain?
  6. What affected on the agricultural productivity?


Ex.3. Match verbs in A to the phrases in B.



1. to live a) agricultural productivity

2. to criticize b) by manufacture and trade

3. to produce c) for damaging biodiversity

4. to vary d) a variety of products

5. to increase e) with the soil and climate


Ex.4. Translate the word combinations into English.

, , , , 㳿, , , , .

Ex.5. .

Ex.6. Say the part of speech of the following words.

Agriculture, provides, countries, industrialized, agricultural, with, primarily, profitable, fertilizers, manufacturing, production, predominantly, influence, productivity, about.


  1. Agriculture n Ukraine
  2. Agriculture. The branch structure
  3. Economy of Great Britain
  4. Education in Britain
  5. Education in Great Britain: Higher Education
  6. Education in Great Britain: Schools
  7. Great Britain
  8. Hospitals in Great Britain
  9. Industry of Great Britain

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