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Press Statement

Preasr√°iteas

23 May 2018

Farm Structure Survey 2016

  • There were 137,500 farms in Ireland in 2016, of which 137,100 were family farms.
  • The average farm size was 32.4 hectares.
  • There was almost 4.9 million hectares of Agricultural Area Used (AAU) in 2016. Almost 4.1 million of this was grassland.
  • In 30% of farms, the holder was aged 65 or older.
  • One in eight (11.7%) of the 137,100 family farm holders were female.
  • There were 7.2 million cattle, 5.1 million sheep, 1.6 million pigs and almost 11.1 million poultry on Irish farms in 2016.

Go to release: Farm Structure Survey 2016

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (23 May 2018) launched the results of the 2016 Farm Structure Survey (FSS). Commenting on the results, Cathal Doherty, Statistician said: ''There were 137,500 farms in Ireland in 2016, of which 137,100 were classified as family farms. The average farm size was 32.4 hectares.

Specialist Beef Production was the most common type of farming in Ireland, with over 72,400 farms engaged in this activity. There were 16,700 Specialist Dairy Farms.

The average Standard Output per farm was €45,945.  Three out of every ten farms had a Standard Output of less than €8,000, while one in five had a Standard Output of €50,000 or more.

There was almost 4.9 million hectares of Agricultural Area Used (AAU) in 2016.  Almost 4.1 million of this was grassland.

There were 7.2 million cattle in 2016, including 1.4 million dairy cows. There was a total of 5.1 million sheep, 1.6 million pigs,  and almost 11.1 million poultry on Irish farms in 2016.

About one in eight (11.7%) of family farm holders were female. 

In 30% of farms, the holder was aged 65 or older while in just 5% of farms the holder was under the age of 35. More than half (55%) of all farm holders were 55 years or older.

Just over half of farmers (53%) viewed farming as a sole occupation, a quarter as a major occupation and the remainder as a subsidiary occupation. One in eight farms had other gainful activity on the farm as a supplement to traditional farming. Forestry was the principal on farm non-agricultural activity, followed by agricultural contracting, other contracting, processing farm products and farm tourism.

One third of farms had land which was rented in, amounting to a total of 830,500 hectares. About 20,000 rented more than half the land they farmed and 5,700 farms rented all of the land they farmed''.

Cathal Doherty continued: ''The CSO would like to extend its appreciation to farmers for responding to this and other Agricultural Surveys.  Approximately 55,000 farms were asked to participate in the 2016 Farm Structure Survey and a response rate in excess of 70% was achieved.

The next Agriculture Survey to be undertaken by the CSO, the June 2018 Crops and Livestock Survey, will be sent to a sample of approximately 10,000 farms by the end of May. The CSO urges those included in this sample survey to respond''.

For further information contact:

Cathal Doherty (+353) 21 453 5099 or Eamonn Dorney (+353) 21 453 5367

or email agri@cso.ie

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