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Number of agricultural and forestry holdings in Austria down 3%

Staff Writer |
According to preliminary results of the farm structure survey 2016, a total of 161 200 agricultural and forestry holdings exist in Austria.

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The majority of the holdings (54%) were part-time farmers. More than a third of the farms had their main focus on the production of cattle, sheep and goats.

The farms in total employed 410 900 persons. 22 300 holdings engaged in organic farming.

With 161 200, the number of farms decreased by 3% compared to the last similar survey in 2013 (166 300).

The degree of regression has slowed down slightly: In 2013, 7 000 enterprises (4%) less were counted than in 2010 (173 300), whereas 20 years ago still 239 100 agricultural and forestry holdings had been surveyed.

Though the structure of Austria's agriculture remains small-scale, however, a trend towards larger holdings is still unbroken: Some 20 years ago, one holding managed a total area of 31.8 hectare (ha) on average, this average has grown to 45.7 ha in 2016.

A similar development was observed for the utilised agricultural area (arable land, kitchen gardens, permanent crops, permanent grassland), where an increase from 15.3 ha to 19.7 ha was recorded.

This general tendency can also be monitored in livestock farming. Some 20 years ago, one agricultural holding kept 20 cattle in average; since then the average has risen to 32 cattle.

The per-holding-average of swine stock increased even faster: An increase from 35 pigs in 1995 to 110 pigs in 2016 can be noted.

Out of the total of 161 200 holdings, 36% were run as main activity farms, whereas 54% were part-time farms (total working time of the couple owning the farm above resp. below 50%) - that means around 90% of the agricultural and forestry enterprises in Austria were run as family holdings.

The remaining 10% were holdings of joint shareholders or legal persons. In comparison, in 2013, 37% of all holdings were run as main activity farms and 55% as part-time farms. The share of holdings of joint shareholders or legal persons amounted to 8%.

410 900 persons were employed in agriculture and forestry (1% less than in 2013), of which 338 600 (82%) were family members. About one third of the agricultural and forestry holdings were run by women.

The evaluation by forms/types of farms revealed that 58 400 (36%) holdings focused on the keeping of cattle, sheep or goats.

48 200 (30%) farms specialised in forestry and 21 200 (13%) were classified as cash crop farms due to the cultivation of cereals, oil crops, root crops and industrial crops.

58.700 holdings (36%) were classified as mountain farms in accordance with administrative data.

According to the preliminary results of the farm structure survey 2016, 22 300 farms (16%) were managed as organic farms. Compared to the year 2013, this means an increase of 1 600 farms (+8%).

The organically cultivated agricultural area covered 552 700 ha. The majority of the organic farms had their focus on the raising of cattle, sheep and goats.

Final and detailed results on the 2016 farm structure survey will be published in the fourth quarter of 2017.


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