Fewer Farms But More Organic in Germany10 February 2014
GERMANY - Average farm sizes in Germany are now 59 hectares, according to the provisional results of the latest agricultural census, writes Jackie Linden.
The growth in the organic sector since the previous survey is striking; six per cent of farms or one million hectares are now operating under organic rules.
In 2013, a total of 285,000 farms in Germany covered an area of 16.7 million hectares, according to the country's statistics office, Destatis. At the recent International Green Week in Berlin, the authority announced that this is around five per cent fewer farms businesses than in 2010. The farmed area remained more or less unchanged so the average size of each holding increased from 56 hectares to 59 hectares.
These are the provisional results of the 2013 agricultural census, in while 80,000 agricultural businesses were asked about their land area, animal numbers and structure.
As before, family businesses form the largest group, accounting for 90 per cent of all the farms and 65 per cent of agricultural land. Of the 256,000 family farms, 52 per cent are managed part-time.
Compared with the 2010 survey, the agricultural work force has also declined - by six per cent to around one million. Of these, 506,000 or just over half were family members. Alongside them work 201,000 full-time employees and 314,000 seasonal workers.
On the round 200,000 holdings which reported keeping animals on the survey date - 1 March 2013 - the totals were 12.4 million cattle, 28.7 million pigs, 1.9 million sheep, 130,000 goats and 177.3 million poultry.
Although the total number of agricultural holdings is falling, there was an increase of nine per cent in the organic farms to 18,000. These now account for six per cent of all Germany's farms. The total area under orgnaic production also increased from 2010 - by seven per cent to around one million hectares.
The final results of the 2013 agricultural survey are expected to be available in April 2014.
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