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Agriculture and Environment

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Farming intensity

  • Farm input intensity is used as a “proxy” of agricultural intensification, meaning an increase in agricultural input use (fertilisers, pesticides and feedstuff) per ha of land. Farms are classified into intensity categories according to an estimate of input volume per hectare of UAA. Then, each farm is classified according to its average level of input use per ha (high intensity if > 300 constant EUR/ha, low intensity if <130 constant EUR/ha, otherwise medium intensity).
  • In 2013, the agricultural area in the European Union managed by farms with low input intensity represented 41.3% of the total Utilised Agricultural Area (UAA) while the area with farms using medium and high levels of inputs was 29.2% and 29.5% respectively.
  • The most significant share of UAA managed by low intensity farms was observed in Bulgaria (60.8%), Spain (63.8%), Lithuania (66.7%), Latvia (66.9%), Romania (80.1%) and Portugal (83.6%). These countries registered input expenditures around or below EUR 150 per ha in constant input prices, with the exception of Spain where the level of input expenditure was EUR 242 per ha in constant input prices.
  • In Belgium and in the Netherlands the average level of input expenditure was very high, ranging from EUR 1200 to EUR 1800 per ha in constant input prices.

Livestock density

  • Areas of extensive grazing are classified here as areas where the stocking density of grazing livestock does not exceed 1 livestock unit per ha of forage area.
  • In 2013, 29.4% of the UAA in the EU-28 was devoted to extensive grazing, with a total amount of 51.3 million hectares, of which around 70% was located in the EU-15.
  • At regional level, there was a concentration of extensive grazing in Scotland, Wales and Highlands and Islands, northern Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, in the mountainous regions in Slovakia, Austria, and Italy, in the West part of Ireland and in the whole of Portugal and large parts of Spain and Romania.

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SOURCE: EC – DG Agriculture and Rural Development