According to Statistics Estonia, there were 19,200 agricultural holdings in Estonia on the basis of the preliminary results of the 2013 Farm Structure Survey. Compared to the 2010 Agricultural Census, their number has decreased by a few hundred.
There were 955,000 hectares of agricultural area used by agricultural holdings, of which more than one-tenth was permanent grassland which is not used for production purposes but is still maintained in a good agricultural and environmental condition.
While the number of agricultural holdings has stabilised over the last three years, their utilised agricultural area has increased by more than 14,000 hectares. In total, the utilised agricultural area has increased by almost 160,000 hectares or by one-fifth over the last 10 years. The stabilisation of the number of agricultural holdings in recent years can be explained by the fact that by now almost all agricultural area is recorded in the registers of the Agricultural Registers and Information Board, and is eligible for support. While in the earlier years the smallest holdings finished their activity, then now many land owners have decided to maintain their lands in a good condition by themselves. Already more than one fifth of agricultural holdings are engaged in this activity.
If we summarise the livestock units of different livestock and poultry, we can see that livestock farming, which has steadily decreased since 2001, started to slightly increase for the first time in 2013. This was caused by the increase in the number of cattle kept for the production of meat. Based on the data on agricultural crops and livestock, Statistics Estonia calculates the estimated value of agricultural production, i.e. the standard output, which has also increased over the last three years. More than three-quarters of the standard output come from roughly a thousand holdings with the largest production.
54% of the utilised agricultural area is leased land and 7% is classified as other tenure (mainly land used free of charge). Rental rates for agricultural land were also included in the 2013 Farm Structure Survey for the first time. Rental rates vary greatly depending on the demand and supply, which are, in turn, related to the holdings in a particular area. Agricultural land is leased both free of charge and at the price of more than 100 euros per hectare. In 2013, the average price per hectare (taxes included) was 39.5 euros.
More detailed information about the rental prices for agricultural land can be found in the blog of Statistics Estonia (only in Estonian).
An agricultural holding is a holding which has at least one hectare of utilised agricultural area or where agricultural products are produced mainly for sale. The final results of the Farm Structure Survey 2013, which – in addition to data on land use and livestock – will also include data on agricultural labour force, machinery and other gainful activities, will be published by Statistics Estonia on 15 October 2014. Eurostat will publish the aggregated data for all Member States in 2015.
The 2013 Farm Structure Survey was partly financed by the European Union.