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The plot thickens: Size of agricultural holdings in Europe

The EU’s farmland sector has grown more concentrated in recent years. But only parts of the continent seem to have followed this trend, with emerging Eastern European powers challenging their Western peers, our interactive map shows.

 

Europe counts about 11 million agricultural holdings, according to Eurostat. Of these, nearly 60 percent have a standard output of more than €2,000. About 40 percent of the EU’s total landmass is used for agriculture, meaning farms run just above 16 hectares of land on average. The sector has grown more concentrated in recent years: between 2010 and 2013 alone, the average agricultural holding increased by 12 percent in size.

France and Spain are the countries that run the largest share of Europe’s agricultural land, at 15.9 percent and 13.3 percent respectively. The UK and Germany follow, with shares of just under 10 percent. By contrast, Romania holds the crown for the largest number of agricultural holdings, being the host to one-third of all European farms. Italy and Spain trail far behind. This suggests vast disparities when it comes to the average size of agricultural holdings across countries, as the  map below illustrates: by this measure the Czech Republic is the indisputable champion.

Countries can also be ranked according to the output they generate, valued at farmgate prices. On this count France dominates, followed by Germany, Italy and the UK. Interestingly, the gap between the biggest producers has grown over time: while French farmers generated 4 percent more output – by value – than Germany in 2007, they surpassed their challengers by 23 percent in 2013.