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Ten facts about agriculture

How many people does a farmer feed? To what extent is German agriculture organic?  These facts will help you shine in any discussions on the topic.

Martin Orth, 22.08.2019
Beautiful borders: Poppies in a cornfield
Beautiful borders: Poppies in a cornfield © Adobe Stock/pilat666

1. Large areas

Half of the area of Germany is used for agricultural purposes. Almost one million people produce goods worth more than 50 billion euros per year.

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2. High yield

After World War II, a farmer in Germany was able to feed ten people. Today, thanks to scientific and technological progress, the figure has risen to 142 people.

3. Strong exports

Germany is the world’s third largest exporter of agricultural goods. The German agricultural industry exports about one third of its products.

Cattle are the main livestock
Cattle are the main livestock © Adobe Stock/Stephen Cordory

4. High milk production

Germany is the largest milk producer in the European Union. The milk is processed almost exclusively in domestic dairies to make drinking milk, butter, yoghurt, cheese and other dairy products.

5. A lot of grain

Grain is grown on about one third of Germany’s agricultural land. Wheat is by far the leading crop, followed by barley and rye.

Demand for potatoes is well covered
Demand for potatoes is well covered © Adobe Stock

6. Less fruit and vegetables

Germany’s agricultural output covers only a third of demand for vegetables, and only one fifth of demand for fruit. Potatoes are the exception, where supply exceeds demand.

7. Very few greenhouses

Vegetables are traditionally grown in fields or gardens. Only about one per cent of Germany’s vegetable growing areas are covered by greenhouses.

8. 10 per cent organic

More than 10 per cent of all agricultural holdings are dedicated to organic farming. Organic farmers’ output is usually lower, but their revenue is higher.

German wines are among the best in the world
German wines are among the best in the world © iStock/art4stock

9. Expensive wine

The sales value of German wine production is 1.1 billion euros, the equivalent of the world’s largest wine growing country, Spain. But Spain’s wine growing area is about ten times larger than Germany’s.

10. Sought-after hops

The largest single hop growing area in Germany, the Hallertau, accounts for about one third of world output. Germany is the world’s fourth largest beer producer.


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