Farms getting bigger and becoming fewer

In a trend that is probably no surprise to anyone, latest data compiled by the Central Statistics Bureau and released December 28 show that in 2016, number of medium-sized and large agricultural holdings has increased by 26.8 %, in total managing 71.1 % of total agricultural area or more by 9.5 % than in 2013. 

In a trend that is probably no surprise to anyone, latest data compiled by the Central Statistics Bureau and released December 28 show that in 2016, number of medium-sized and large agricultural holdings has increased by 26.8 %, in total managing 71.1 % of total agricultural area or more by 9.5 % than in 2013. 

In 2016, there were 69.9 thousand economically active holdings, which managed 1930.8 hectares (ha) of total agricultural area (UAA).

Compared to 2013 the total number of economically active holdings in 2016 had decreased by 14.5 %, while the UAA had grown by 2.8 %. The number of small agricultural holdings compared to 2013 had decreased significantly - by 19.2 % or 14.1 thousand, reflecting ongoing consolidation in the farming sector with larger farms eating up smallholders.

The average size of agricultural holding has risen from 37.4 ha in 2013 to 43.3 ha in 2016 or by 15.8 %. Compared to 2013 the UAA on average per holding increased by 4.6 ha or 20 %, reaching 27.6 ha in 2016. The average number of livestock per agricultural holding also increased. One livestock-breeding agricultural holding was breeding 18 cattle (of which 9 dairy cows), 31 pig, 35 sheep, 7 goats and 169 poultry.

Main changes took place in agricultural holdings breeding sheep and poultry – on average the number of sheep in one agricultural holding rose by 10 sheep or by 40 % (from 25 sheep in 2013 to 35 sheep in 2016), but the number of poultry has reduced by 26.8 % (from 231 poultry in 2013 to 169 poultry in 2016).

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Economy
Economy