Results from the EU Farm Structure Survey 2016

Date published: 27 July 2017


The ‘EU Farm Structure Survey 2016’ statistical report for Northern Ireland has been published today by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

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The Report provides details of labour (including age, sex and work-time), diversification, contractor use, internet access, manure management, agricultural training and renewable energy production on farms within Northern Ireland.

In addition to figures from the 2016 survey the report also contains comparisons with those figures obtained from previous EU Farm Structure surveys since 1995.

Key statistics from the report are summarised below:

  • 53,877 persons contributed to the work on farms in the 12 months ending March 2016.
  • Total labour input on NI farms equated to 28,640 Annual Work Units.
  • On 99 percent of farms, the principal occupier or a member of his or her family was the manager
  • 5 percent of farms were managed by females.
  • The median age of farmers (58 years) responsible for the day to day management of farms was the same as recorded in 2013.
  • 6 percent of farmers were aged under 35 in 2016 (4 percent in 2013).
  • 55 percent of farmers worked 30 hours or more per week on farms (i.e. full-time).
  • 11 percent of farms had some diversification activity (as defined in the Structure Survey), including 3 percent of farms which undertook agricultural contracting/haulage.
  • 90 percent of farms used agricultural contractors during the previous year.
  • 69 percent of farms had access to the internet in March 2016.
  • 12 percent of farms make use of renewable energy within their business.
  • 71 percent of farms stored slurry in a below-ground tank in the 12 months ending March 2016.
  • 83 percent of slurry and manure was applied using the broadcast method and not ploughed in.

Download the EU Farm Structure Survey Report 2016

This report and other DAERA statistical publications can be accessed on the Department’s internet site free of charge.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The survey results were prepared by Statistics and Analytical Services Branch, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3SB.
  2. Statistics on agricultural employment are collected each year in the June Agricultural & Horticultural Census and are published in the annual Statistical Review of Northern Ireland Agriculture. However, EU legislation requires the collection of more detailed information, on a comparable basis throughout the European Union, every two or three years. This exercise is known as the EU Farm Structure Survey.
  3. Results were compiled from a sample survey issued in March 2016 with approximately 9,500 statistical returns
  4. All media enquiries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email DAERA Press Office. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.
  5. Follow us on Twitter @daera_ni.

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