Fewer European farms are taking up more space

Eurostat's report shows that while one in four farm holdings disappeared between 2003 and 2013, the average size of each holding went up by 38 percent.

The average size of European agricultural land holdings grew by 38 percent between 2003 and 2013, according to a report by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office.

But because individual holdings have spread out over the same overall size of cultivated land, the overall number of farms has gone down.

Eurostat’s Farm Structure Survey 2013 says that in 1 in 4 farm holdings disappeared over the 10 year period.

Europe’s largest farms were in the Czech Republic, at an average of 133 hectares. In the UK farms averaged 93.6 hectares, while in Slovakia the standard was 80.7 hectares. On the other end of the scale, Hungary’s average holding size was 9.5 hectares. Greece, Romania, Cyprus and Slovenia had average holding sizes of between 6 and 7 hectares. A third of agricultural holdings in Europe are in Romania.

In Bulgaria, holding sizes changed the most, from an average of 4.4 hectares per holding to an average of 18.3. The overall area of land used for farming in Estonia, Latvia and Greece rose by 20, 26 and 22 percent respectively, while in Austria it fell by 16.3 percent, and in Cyprus 30 percent.

Europe’s farm managers are ageing – nearly a third of holding managers are aged 65 or over. Poland and Austria were the only two countries where holding managers under 35 made up more than 10 percent of managers. In Portugal and Denmark, holding managers under 35 made up 2.5 percent.