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2.2 Farm characteristics There is a general trend towards an increasing average farm size starting with 29 ha in 1990 to 45.7 ha in 2007 (which is a rise by 3 % annually). This trend reflects in turn the constant decline in number of farms: from 630 thousand holdings in 1990 to 360 in 2007. Compared with the agricultural census in 2006, the number of farms declined by 4.9 %. The number of farms operating on less than 75 ha declined by 19.3 % in the last 8 years. During the same time the number of farms with 75 ha and more rose on average by 3 % p.a. As to the shares of agricultural holdings by size, in 2007, 38 % of farms managed on areas under 10 ha, 54.4 % on area from 10 to under 100 ha, and 7.6 % of farms operated on areas with more than 100 ha.

For historical reasons dating back to collective and state farms in the GDR, average farm sizes in the East and West German federal states differ significantly (202 ha and 34 ha respectively).

The increase in farm size was accompanied by a significant increase in labor productivity, which rose by 125 % from 1991 to 2007, while agricultural output per hectare remained nearly the same (€2,355/ha in 1991 and €2,354/ha in 2006). 94 % of all German farms with 69 % of the Impact of the introduction of decoupled payments on functioning of the German land market 15 total agricultural land are individual (family) farms. Most of them are small and part-time holdings managing on average 14 ha/farm. Only 4.8 % of farms with 13.5 % of the agricultural land have the legal form of joint partnership.

Legal entities under public and private law farm (corporate farms) cultivated 17.6 % of land in 2007, in East Germany their share is estimated at 51.8 %. With a total of 2.5 million ha parttime holdings make up an essential element of the agricultural structure in the former territory of the Federal Republic. In the East German regions they score only 0.3 million ha or 10.7 % of all German part-time holdings. Last year, 164,400 farms were managed as full-time holdings.

Their average size was 54.6 ha (ranging from 37.9 ha in Bavaria to 237.7 ha in MecklenburgWestern Pomerania).

2.3 Sales and rental market Despite the rapid structural changes in agricultural sector there are hardly any transactions on sales market for arable land or grassland. In 2005 only 0.6 % of agricultural land were sold (58,200 ha in the New Laender and 38,500 ha in the Old Laender)1. Land prices on the sales market are affected not only by location and soil quality but also by the purpose of use. The highest prices were realized in Bavaria (especially in Upper Bavaria) and in North RhineWestphalia (particularly in the Düsseldorf district), in both cases largely due to the high demand for agricultural land for urban or industrial usage.

The reallocation of agricultural land takes place mostly on the rental market. In 2007, the share of rented land in total utilized areas was 61.7 % (10.4 million ha), with regional differences ranging from 44.6 % in Bavaria to 89.9 % in Saxony2. The total area of newly rented land in 2005 was 2,275,900 ha. In 2007, 46,500 farms (approx. 13 %) operated only on rented land. In West Germany the share of rented land is constantly increasing (from 42.5 % in 1991 to 60 % in 2007). The average share of rented land has been regressing slightly, but this trend is only due to sales transaction by the BVVG (Bodenverwertungs- und -verwaltungs GmbH) in East Germany. Thus, the land market in Germany is primarily a rental market.

–  –  –


DEUTSCHER BAUERNVERBAND (2007): Situationsbericht 2007. Available on: http://www.situationsbericht.de.

DEUTSCHER BAUERNVERBAND (2007): Situationsbericht 2007. Available on: http://www.situationsbericht.de.

Lioudmila Möller et al.

Germany has a highly diversified primary agricultural sector. In terms of the total production in 2005, Germany was the EU largest producer of potatoes (19.4 %), oil seed rape (33.8 %), milk (20 %) and pork (19.3 %). It was also the second largest producer of cereal (17.5 %), sugar (21.2 %) and red meat (16.1 %) in the EU. In 2007, Germany accounted for 16.5 % of the total EU cereal production (EUROSTAT). Due to soil quality and climate conditions the commodity mix varies significantly across the country. Crops cover 55.4 % of arable land.

Wheat is the most widely grown arable crop in Germany covering around 3.1 million hectares of arable land. Feed and industrial grains are cultivated on 2.6 million ha, industrial crops and fodder crops on 1.55 and 1.96 million ha respectively. Their yield in total, per hectare and area under cultivation remains nearly the same since 1990. For crops such as maize and sugar beets, the area of cultivated land in 2007 shrunk by 10 % and 15 % respectively against 2006.

This can be traced back to the downward trend in prices (and partly also in yields per hectare) since 1991.

Total production of crops (measured in hectares under crops) decreased by 5.5 % in the period 2004-2007 and by 2 % against 2006. This decrease is mainly in production of maize, sugar beets and wheat. Areas under rape increased by 7.6 % over the previous year. Vegetables for sale are cultivated on 112,700 hectares of agricultural land (0.3 % more than in 2006). Total area under vegetable cultivation has remained stable at a high level.

2.5 Animal stock In November 2007, 12.7 million heads of cattle and 26.9 million pigs were kept in agricultural holdings in Germany. Both the number of pigs and the stock of cattle increased slightly by 0.2 % compared to the previous year. The decline in piglet production (-6.1 %) was primarily driven by the presently low prices on the piglet market. Sheep stock recorded the lowest level since 1990, and decline by another 3.4 % compared to 2006. The shares of agricultural holdings by livestock type in 2007 amounted to 37.5 % cattle (excl. diary cows), 31.5 % diary cows, 22.4 % pigs, 3.6 % poultry, 3.4 % horses, and 1.6 % sheep. With a share of over 20 % of agricultural output dairy cows stock is the mainstay of German agriculture.

2.6 Organic farming In 2007, 4.6 % of the total agricultural used area was farmed organically by 3.4 percent of all agricultural holdings. Organic farms have been managed on about 782,500 hectares of utilized agricultural area, 60 % more than in 1999. With the total number of 13,600 holdings organically operating farms scored an increase of 4000 organic farms (or of 41.7 %) against

1999. The average size of organically working farms is also rising. In 2007, it accounted for 58 hectares, which are 15 ha more than the average farm size of the total agricultural holdings.

While the amount of the total agricultural used area has remained nearly on the same level since 1991, the area operated within organic farming has still been rising. However, the general trend towards an increasing average farm size applies also to organic farming.


The present study contributes to the empirical underpinning of the analysis of the policy influences, in particular the implementation of the SPS, on the land market. To allow for the main interest of the study and associated questions, the methodology adopted for this aim is a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches. This method enables both description and evaluation of the current situation on the land market in terms of felt and valuated effects.

Depending on the issue addressed the combination of the methods and sources applied can differ, the main emphasis, however, is on the qualitative side of the combined approach. This methodology determines the character of the study, which is mainly descriptive.

Impact of the introduction of decoupled payments on functioning of the German land market 17

The most important sources of information utilized were:

• Comprehensive literature review;

• Statistical data (Statistisches Bundesamt, EUROSTAT, Statistical Offices of selected Federal States), inclusive the Agricultural Census comprising of Farm Structure Survey and the Census of Land Use;

• Data from the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Federal State Ministries of the Environment and Agriculture of selected regions (=Laender);

• In-depth face-to-face interviews with 8 officials of local Offices for Agriculture and 5 officials of Chambers of Agricultur;

• In-depth face-to-face interviews with 9 representatives of Farmers’ Unions and 6 interviews with farmers;

• 1 interview with a bank.

A comprehensive literature review was undertaken in order to identify the relative importance of the different factors that impact land market. The basic approach however, was to use expert interviews to gather qualitative information concerning key drivers of land value and the impact of decoupled payments on land market. Initially 25 interviews were proposed.

Since all contacted persons and offices agreed to interviews, three additional interviews could be carried out.

Extensive, in-depth face-to-face interviews were carried out with officials of the local Offices of Agriculture and/or Chambers of Agriculture in each of the three case study regions. These interviews were designed to obtain qualitative assessment of the impact of the SPS implementation on land market. Collection of data and information was extended to surveys of farmers’ unions and rural banker. Finally, interviews were conducted with a number of individual farmers that have an important role in a given region due to their farm size. Such comparison of different views on the same subject was needed to draw a representative picture of the changes in the land market.

The rationale for choosing representatives/officials of local Offices of Agriculture and other authorities for interviews was to identify different personal perceptions of the effects of SPS implementation in the same region. At the same time, the heterogeneity of a given region, stemming from different natural, historical and economical conditions, could be met. Finally, the selection will allow an assessment of technical aspects of the distribution of entitlements and perceived success of the CAP measures. In order to keep the study manageable and representative, the interviews were limited to selected regions.

The techniques used involved statistical analysis of data on land prices and rents, macroeconomic data, distribution and transfer of entitlements, and other relevant information. Evaluation of key statistics aimed at providing an overview of the occurrence and frequency of relevant issues.

At the same time, it was to underlay qualitative assessments of the impact of the SPS implementation and other facts with statistical figures. In particular, statistical data were used to identify the rate of change in key figures such as general economic conditions, sector growth, price level etc., for various years and link the findings to the policy influences on the land market.

Quantitative data are gained mainly by using EUROSTAT, Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) and Statistical Offices of Bavaria, Lower Saxony, and Saxony. Additional important sources are the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection and the Federal State Ministries of the Environment and Agriculture of selected regions. Thanks to the granted access to the German database on entitlement transfer (ZID3) the information on transfer and ZID (Zentrale InVeKos Datenbank), German central database on entitlement transfer. The database is run by the State of Bavaria on behalf on the federal states. InVeKos registers entitlements as well as the control activities put in place by the federal states.

Lioudmila Möller et al.

value of entitlements could be collected. References to other than listed sources are footnoted or indicated in parentheses.


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