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- Data extracted in October 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: January 2018.
There is a wide diversity of natural environments, climates, economic conditions and farming practices across the European Union (EU). They are reflected in the broad array of food and drink products that are made available for human consumption and animal feed, as well as a range of inputs for non-food processes. Indeed, agricultural products contribute to the cultural identity of Europe’s people and regions.
Main statistical findings
The EU-28 produced 101.9 million tonnes of sugar beet in 2015, which was 12.9 % less than the average for the previous five years. The production of the other main root crop in the EU-28 — potatoes — was 53.1 million tonnes, 7.0 % less than the average for the previous five years.
Oilseeds production has followed an upward pattern in recent years mainly due to the increased use of oilseeds for bioenergy production. However, as for cereals and the two root crops shown in Figure 1, at 7.9 million tonnes the production of sunflower seeds was relatively low in 2015, 5.5 % below the average for the previous five years. By contrast, at 21.7 million tonnes the production of rape and turnip rape was 4.3 % higher than the five year average.
Figure 2 presents an analysis of the production of cereals in the EU-28 in 2015. Almost half (48.0 %) of the total production of cereals was accounted for by common wheat and spelt, while close to one fifth of the total was composed of barley (19.6 %) and grain maize and corn-cob-mix (18.6 %).
France and Germany were by far the largest cereal and sugar beet producers, together accounting for more than half (55.1 %) of the EU-28’s sugar beet production and just under two fifths of its cereals production (38.3 %) in 2015 (see Table 1), while their combined share of the EU-28’s oilseed production — as covered by rape and turnip rape and sunflower seeds — was also close to two fifths (39.0 %).
The production of potatoes was more widely spread across the EU Member States, with Germany recording the highest level of production (19.5 % of the EU-28 total), while France, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom each accounted for between 13.4 % and 10.5 %.
In the EU-28, the most important vegetables in terms of the level of production were tomatoes, onions and carrots. The total production of tomatoes among the EU Member States was 17.6 million tonnes in 2015. Italy and Spain were the largest producers among the EU Member States, with a combined share of 64.0 % of the EU-28's production.
The most important fruits in terms of the level of production in the EU-28 were apples and oranges. The production of apples was common across most of the EU, although there was a particularly high level of production in several eastern EU Member States, notably in Poland. Indeed, Poland was the leading producer of apples in the EU-28 in 2015 and accounted for one quarter (25.0 %) of the EU-28’s output. Italy and France were the second and third largest producers of apples with shares of 19.2 % and 15.5 % respectively.
Dairy production has a diverse structure across the EU Member States, in terms of farm and dairy herd sizes, as well as milk yields. Figure 5 shows that 29.3 % of the whole milk that was utilised in the EU-28 in 2015 was used for fresh products, mainly as drinking milk or cream. The remaining 70.7 % was transformed into manufactured products; with 36.3 % of all whole milk converted into cheese, and 24.4 % into butter.
Table 2 summarises a range of different agricultural products from animals. The total collection of cows’ milk (in other words, cows’ milk delivered to dairies) in the EU-28 in 2015 amounted to an estimated 152 million tonnes. Germany and France recorded the highest quantities of cows’ milk collected in 2015 and they also accounted for the highest levels of production for butter and cheese; together they contributed between 38 % and 44 % of the EU-28’s total production for each of these three dairy products.
The principal meat product in the EU-28 was pig meat (23.0 million tonnes in 2015), with the weight of production three times as high as the share recorded for meat from bovines ((beef/veal), which stood at 7.6 million tonnes); the production of sheep meat in the EU-28 was relatively modest (0.7 million tonnes).
Nearly a quarter (24.2 % or 5.6 million tonnes) of the EU-28’s pig meat production in 2015 came from Germany, the next highest contributions being recorded for Spain (17.0 %) and France (8.6 %), while the 8.3 % share for Poland and the 7.0 % share for Denmark were also notable. Just under one fifth (19.1 % or 1.5 million tonnes) of the beef/veal produced in the EU-28 originated from France in 2015, with Germany (14.8 %), the United Kingdom (11.6 %) and Italy (10.4 %) the next largest producers; Ireland reported a relatively high share (7.4 %) of the EU-28’s production of beef/veal. The United Kingdom dominated the production of sheep meat (0.3 million tonnes), with a 41.5 % share of the EU-28 total in 2015, followed by Spain (16.1 %), France (11.1 %), Ireland (8.1 %) and Greece (7.6 %).
Data sources and availability
Annual statistics on the production of a wide range of crops are covered by Council Regulations and a Commission Delegated Regulation.
The statistics on crop production relate to harvested production. Agricultural production of crops is synonymous with harvested production and includes marketed quantities, as well as quantities consumed directly on the farm, losses and waste on the agricultural holding, and losses during transport, storage and packaging.
Statistics on milk and meat products are compiled according to Community legislation. Milk production covers farm production of milk from cows, sheep, goats and buffaloes. A distinction is made between milk collected by dairies and milk production on the farm. Milk collection is only a part of the total use of milk production on the farm, the remainder generally includes own consumption, direct sale, processing on the farm and animal feed.
Meat production is based on the activity of slaughterhouses regarding meat fit for human consumption. The carcass weight is the weight of the slaughtered animal’s cold body and the precise definition varies according to the animal under consideration.
Information on agricultural products may be used to analyse developments within agricultural markets in order to help distinguish between cycles and changing production patterns; these statistics can also be used to study how markets respond to policy actions. Agricultural product data also provides supply side information, furthering understanding as regards price developments which are of particular interest to agricultural commodity traders and policy analysts.
In October 2007, the Council adopted legislation to establish a single common market organisation for agricultural products (Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007). This was designed to reduce the volume of legislation in the farming sector, to improve legislative transparency, and to make agricultural policy more easily accessible. Between the start of 2008 and the start of 2009, the single common market organisation replaced 21 individual markets for a variety of different products such as fruit and vegetables, cereals, meats, eggs, dairy products, sugar or wine. Widespread reforms of the common agricultural policy (CAP) took place in 2003, 2008 and 2013. The December 2013 reforms comprised four Regulations, including Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013 which concerns measures linked to agricultural products.
Further Eurostat information
- Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics — 2016 edition (Statistical book)
- Agriculture (t_agri), see:
- Agricultural production (t_apro)
- Crops products (t_apro_cp)
- Milk and milk products (t_apro_mk)
- Livestock and meat (t_apro_mt)
- Regional Agriculture Statistics (t_agr_r)
- Agriculture (agri), see:
- Agricultural production (apro)
- Crops products (apro_cp)
- Poultry farming (apro_ec)
- Milk and milk products (apro_mk)
- Livestock and meat (apro_mt)
Methodology / Metadata
- Crop statistics (area, production and yield) (ESMS metadata file — apro_acs_esms)
- Crops products: supply balance sheets (ESMS metadata file — apro_cpb_esms)
- Livestock and meat (ESMS metadata file — apro_mt_esms)
- Handbook on the concepts and definitions used in animal production statistics
Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)
- Crop statistics are governed by:
- Milk statistics are governed by:
- Livestock and meat statistics are governed by:
- Regulation (EC) No 1165/2008 of 19 November 2008 concerning livestock and meat statistics and repealing Council Directives 93/23/EEC, 93/24/EEC and 93/25/EEC.
- European Commission — Agriculture and Rural Development — EU agricultural product quality policy
- European Commission — Agriculture and Rural Development — Simplification of the CAP