A statistical portrait of agriculture in the EU

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The FINANCIAL — In the European Union (EU), the Member State contributing the most to the value of agricultural production was France (accounting for 18% of the EU total), followed at a distance by Germany (14%), Italy (13%), Spain (10%), the United Kingdom (8%), the Netherlands (7%) and Poland (5%). Together, these seven Member States represent around three-quarters of total EU agricultural output.

This information is issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on the occasion of the publication of its statistical book on agriculture, forestry and fishery. This publication is divided into seven chapters, providing facts and figures about farm structure, agricultural accounts and prices, agricultural products, agriculture and environment, forestry and fishery production. As 2015 marked the abolition of dairy quotas, this year a whole chapter is also dedicated to 30 years of quotas in the milk sector in the EU.

France, largest producer of cereals in the EU

In the EU, the record amount of 331.7 million tonnes of cereals (including rice) was harvested in 2014. With 72.7 million tonnes, France remained by far the largest producer of cereals in the EU, followed by Germany (52.0 mn t), Poland (31.9 mn t), the United Kingdom (24.5 mn t), Romania (22.1 mn t), Spain (20.6 mn t), Italy (19.4 mn t) and Hungary (16.5 mn t). In terms of value, cereals represent 13% of total agricultural output in the EU and account for 25% of EU crop production.

Cereals production up compared with longer-term average despite reduction of the cultivated area

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Compared with 2013, the harvested production of cereals rose in 2014 in a vast majority of EU Member States, with the highest relative increases being registered in Slovenia (+41.9%), Cyprus (+41.7%) and Slovakia (+38.0%), followed by Estonia (+25.2%), Austria (+24.4%), the United Kingdom (+22.5%) and Hungary (+20.9%). In contrast, the largest decrease was observed in Spain (-19.0%), ahead of Greece (-8.2%) and Croatia (-6.1%). At EU level, the harvested production of cereals increased by 8%, while the area of cultivation remained globally the same.

Over a longer time period, production of cereals in the EU has varied between a low of 253 million tonnes in 2003 (a year of severe drought) and a high of more than 330 mn tonnes in 2014 (a year with very favorable weather conditions).

Compared with the average over the period 2000-2012, cereals production in the EU was 15.2% higher in 2014, while cultivation area was 5% lower. Across Member States, the most remarkable rises of the harvested production of cereals were recorded in the three Baltic States – Lithuania (+72.4%), Estonia (+70.3%) and Latvia (+68.3%) – followed by Bulgaria (+56.9%), Slovakia (+49.3%) and Romania (+39.1%). Decreases were recorded in Cyprus, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Greece. When analyzing the time-series, it should be kept in mind that cereals production is strongly influenced by weather conditions.

Largest number of pigs in Germany and Spain, cattle in France, sheep in the United Kingdom

In 2014, the cattle population in the EU amounted to 88.4 million animals. With about 19 million animals, France recorded slightly more than 1 out of every 5 bovine animals in the EU (22% of the EU total), ahead of Germany (14%), the United Kingdom (11%), Ireland, Spain and Italy (all 7%).

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With 84.2 million animals, the population of sheep in the EU was in 2014 almost identical to that of cattle. More than 1 in 4 sheep (27%) in the EU were reared in the United Kingdom, which totaled 23 million sheep. It was followed at a distance by Spain (18%), Romania and Greece both 11%).

For pigs, Germany (28.3 million swine, or 19% of the EU total) and Spain (26.6 million, or 18%) were by far the two Member States with the largest numbers in the EU. Of the 148.3 million pigs in the EU, more than a third were located in these two Member States.

In terms of value, pigs, cattle and sheep represent 17% of total agricultural output in the EU and account for 42% of animal production.


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