Lower prices shaved €6bn off EU agricultural output last year

Total agricultural output fell by 2.8% (€6bn) to €405bn (£360bn) across the EU in 2016 compared with the previous 12 months, according to European Commission figures.  

The figures are based on a combination of production volumes and prices, compiled by the EU Commission’s statistical department.

The main downward pressure on the total figure was on livestock output which across all sectors dropped by an average of 3.3%.

This was due to a 4.9% decrease in prices which was partly offset by a 1.7% increase in production volume. Within the livestock sector the major declines in prices were 5.2% for milk and 3.6% for cattle.  

Crop output fared better but still declined by 2.5% compared with 2015 figures. Prices were down by 1.8% across the EU and volume fell by 0.7%.

Cereals

The major fall in arable farming was in cereals where output fell by 13.5 %. But other crops – potatoes (+23.5%), fodder (+4.5%) and industrial crops (+2.7%) – all increased.

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The impact of the falling output figures on farm incomes was reduced across EU member states by a drop in agricultural input costs.

Overall input costs went down by 3.4% in 2016 compared with figures a year earlier. The major reductions in costs were seen in fertilisers (-8.6%) energy (-7.8%) and animal feed (-2.7%).  

Across the EU states fortunes varied widely. France remains the EU’s biggest farmer with an output of £62.6bn in 2016 but this represented a decline of 6.5% compared with 2015 – the third largest drop of all member states. The UK is in fifth place, producing £23.9bn worth of agricultural goods. The UK also saw a drop in total output of 3.3%. 

EU’s top 8 producers

Country

Output

Percentage of total EU output

1. France

£62.6bn

17 %

2. Italy

£47.5bn

13% 

3. Germany

£47.0bn

13% 

4. Spain

£41.6bn

12%

5. UK

£24.9bn

7%

6. Netherlands

£24.0bn

7% 

7. Poland

£19.9bn

6% 

8. Romania

£13.7bn

4% 

The largest decline of any member state was Estonia which saw output drop by almost 20% (19.8%). Latvia recorded the second highest decline of 8.3%.

The highest rises in agricultural output were seen in Slovakia where production and prices rose to record an overall increase of 10.7%, Poland saw output rise by 4.6% and Hungary at 4.1%.

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