Farming: Number animal farms in Germany decli...

Number animal farms in Germany declines

Ehrecke /
Germany’s total pig population decreased by 2% in the last ten years.
Germany’s total pig population decreased by 2% in the last ten years.

GERMANY, Wiesbaden. The number of pig farms in Germany has fallen by more than a third (35 %) between 2010 and 2019 (from 33,400 to around 21,600).

As reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), this decline is above average against the background of a general decrease in the total number of agricultural holdings in Germany.

Between 2010 and 2016, the year of the last agricultural structure survey, the total number of farms fell from just under 300,000 to around 275,000. This corresponds to a decline of around 8%.

The total pig population decreased by 2% between 2010 and 2019 to around 26 mill. animals. An almost constant total number of pigs is therefore distributed among fewer and fewer farms. This development, also known as "farm death", mainly affects smaller farms. In 2010, there were still 4,200 farms with herds of less than 100 pigs. Almost nine years later, there were only 1,700 – a minus of 60%.

The change in agriculture towards large farms is particularly evident in the example of pig farms. The larger the farms are, the higher are their chances of survival. The number of farms with between 500 and 999 pigs fell by 32% between 2010 and 2019, while those with herds of between 1,000 and 1,999 animals only fell by 8%. On the other hand, the number of large holdings with 2,000 pigs or more increased from 2,000 holdings at the end of 2010 to 2,700 in mid-2019, an increase of 35%. The number of the largest holdings (5,000 pigs or more) increased by 67% from 300 to 500.

Similar tendencies can be observed in cattle farming. Here, however, instead of farms, the holdings are recorded – a farm can have several holdings. Between 2010 and 2019 there is also a significant decline in all holdings (–23%). The number of smaller holdings (1 to 199 animals) fell by 26%, while the number of larger holdings (200 animals or more) rose by 14%.

Against this background, other sources of income are becoming increasingly important for farmers. In 2005, around 159,000 taxpayers with income from agriculture and forestry also earned income from commercial enterprises. These include wind power and solar energy plants. The total revenue of around €4.7 bn. at that time averaged €29,600 per taxpayer. Ten years later, just under 283,000 people had additional income from commercial enterprises – an increase of around 78%. The profits generated from commercial activities almost doubled: With total revenues of €9.1 bn. in 2015, income from commercial enterprises averaged €32,200 per taxpayer.


Source: Destatis


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