The utilised agricultural area per holding in Estonia is one of the biggest in Europe

Posted on 13 February 2024, 9:06

According to the Farm Structure Survey conducted by Statistics Estonia, the number of agricultural holdings in Estonia has decreased by 6%, i.e. by 700, in three years. The average size of agricultural area has risen to 91 hectares, which is one of the highest values in the European Union (EU) after Czechia and Slovakia.

In 2023, there were 10,700 agricultural holdings in Estonia with nearly 980,000 hectares of utilised agricultural area. This means 91 hectares of agricultural area per holding in Estonia. The EU average based on the 2020 agricultural census was 17 hectares. The average agricultural area per holding was 29 hectares in Latvia and 50 hectares in Finland. Still, the majority of holdings in Estonia are small with less than 20 hectares of utilised agricultural area and are involved in agricultural production only part-time. A fifth of holdings have at least 100 hectares of utilised agricultural area. Last year, the 2,400 biggest holdings produced 93% of the total agricultural production of Estonia.

Eve Valdvee, team lead at Statistics Estonia, said that the number of agricultural holdings has decreased in almost all counties over the last three years. “The number of holdings declined the most, by 14%, in Jõgeva county, and by 11% in Võru county. Harju county was the only region with a slight increase in the number of holdings. The agricultural holdings that ceased activities were mainly holdings with older managers aged over 55 and with less than 100 hectares of utilised agricultural area,” explained Valdvee.

The number of holdings with livestock, poultry or beehives decreased more than others. There was also a fall in the number of organic farming holdings.

The Farm Structure Survey 2023 was based on a methodology agreed within the EU. The survey collected information about land use, livestock farming, the management and labour force and other gainful activities of holdings, and also about agricultural production methods and use of machinery and equipment in additional modules. As for soil management practices, the survey revealed, for example, that as much as 63% of the agricultural area is now cultivated using conservational tillage or zero tillage, which supports energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. In the machinery and equipment module, 1,000 holdings reported the use of variable rate techniques, 740 holdings use robotics in crop or livestock farming (e.g. self-driving machinery, berry-picking robots, milking robots, feeding robots etc.), and 970 holdings have solar panels for energy production.

Utilised agricultural area per holding in Estonia in 2023 and in the EU in 2020

The Farm Structure Survey 2023 was co-funded by the European Commission. Integrated farm statistics cover only agricultural holdings above the threshold agreed within the European Union.






See also the agriculture section on our website.

More detailed data have been published in the statistical database.

When using Statistics Estonia’s data and graphs, please indicate the source.

For further information:

Helen Maria Raadik
Media Relations Manager
Marketing and Dissemination Department
Statistics Estonia
Tel +372 625 9181

press [at] (press[at]stat[dot]ee)

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