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Farms and Farmers

The percentage of farm holders in Ireland aged less than 35 years in 2016

This chapter contains information on the number of farms, average farm size and average standard output. We have also included data on the labour force of farms, broken down by type of worker and age of the farm holder.

Table 22.1 Number of farms, average farm size and average standard output, by region 2016
 StateBorder Midland & WestSouthern & Eastern
Total farms ('000s)137.572.565.0
Average farm size (ha)32.427.138.3
Average standard output €45,945€28,874€64,992
Source: CSO

Interactive table: Statbank link

In 2016, there were 137,500 farms in Ireland. More than half (52.7%) of all farms were located in the Border, Midland and Western (BMW) region. The average farm was 32.4 hectares. Farms in the Southern and Eastern (SE) region were 41.3% larger than those in the BMW region, with an average farm size of 38.3 hectares compared to 27.1 hectares.

X-axis labelBorder, Midland and WesternSouthern and Eastern
< 10 hectares15.810.4
10 - < 20 hectares20.612.9
20 - < 30 hectares13.610.7
30 - < 50 hectares13.914.9
50 - < 100 hectares7.212.6
> = 100 hectares1.43.4
Table 22.2 Economic breakdown of farm holdings 2016
SizeStandard outputHoldingsTotal outputTotal farmed area
Very smallUnder €8,00032%3%11%
Small€8,000 - €25,00033%11%26%
Medium€25,000 - €50,00015%11%19%
Large€50,000 - €100,0008%13%15%
Very largeAt least €100,00012%62%29%
Source: CSO

Interactive table: Statbank link

In Ireland in 2016, a small number of economically very large farms (12%) produced close to two thirds (62%) of the agricultural output using 29% of the total farmed land area.

Table 22.3 Farm labour force 2016
Farm holder137.1
Family member109.8
Non-family worker18.5
Source: CSO

Interactive table: Statbank link

There were 265,400 people employed in the agricultural sector in Ireland in 2016. Of these, 52% were the farm holders, 41% were family members and the remaining 7% were non-family workers. The size of the Irish labour force has remained largely stable over the past decade ranging between 265,000 and 272,000 people.

Farm Labour Force
Farm holder52
Family member of
the holder
Non-family worker7
Table 22.4 Age of farm holders
Less than 358.78.27.4
65 and over36.637.741.2
Source: CSO
X-axis label201620132010
65 and over302726
Less than 35566

Interactive table: Statbank link

Agriculture typically has an ageing workforce. In 2016, around a quarter of farm holders in Ireland were aged 65 years and over. Just 5% of people were aged less than 35 years.

Go to next chapter >>> Crops, Livestock & Dairy