Arable crop area slightly larger in 2021

In 2021, the agricultural area in the Netherlands devoted to arable crops increased by 1.8 thousand (0.3 percent) to 529 thousand hectares. The seed onion area grew the most, while the cultivation area of barley and potatoes declined in 2021. This is evident from provisional results of the 2021 Agricultural Census, conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

According to this year’s agricultural census, the Netherlands has almost 529 thousand hectares of land devoted to arable farming. This is 1.8 thousand ha (0.3 percent) more than in the previous year. The area under arable crops has declined by more than 100 thousand ha (16.7 percent) since 2000, but has been stable over the past three years.

Arable crop cultivation area
 Seed onions (2000=100)Potatoes (2000=100)Wheat (2000=100)Total arable farming (2000=100)Sugar beets (2000=100)Barley (2000=100)

Sharp increase in seed onion area

Seed onion cultivation occupied 30.4 thousand ha in 2021. This is over 3 thousand ha (11.3 percent) more than in the previous year. In 2020, the seed onion area still declined by nearly 1 percent. Nevertheless, it is increasing in the long term. Relative to 2000, the acreage of seed onions has doubled.

Less land for ware potatoes

This year, the total cultivation area for ware potatoes has declined by nearly 5 thousand ha (6.5 percent) to 72 thousand ha. It also declined in 2020. Areas in use for seed and starch potatoes have increased slightly over the past twelve months, by nearly 1 percent each. The share of seed and starch potatoes in the total potato cultivation area has continued to rise slightly over the past year. As of 2021, over one-quarter of the total potato area (28.2 percent or over 45 thousand ha) is in use for starch potatoes; the area in use for seed potatoes is nearly equal in size (27.3 percent). The bulk of the potato area consists of ware potatoes (44.5 percent).

Since 2000, the seed potato area has grown by 2.3 thousand ha (5.4 percent) while the ware potato area has declined by 15.7 thousand ha (17.9 percent) and the starch potato area by 5.5 thousand ha (10.9 percent).

Increase in wheat acreage

The area in use for common wheat has risen again as of 2021, following a decrease in 2020. The wheat production area occupied over 120 thousand ha, which is nearly 11 thousand ha (9.8 percent) more than twelve months previously. This year, the winter wheat area has grown by almost 15 thousand ha (15.9 percent). The area devoted to summer wheat has declined by nearly one-quarter. This year, the summer wheat area occupies approximately 13 thousand hectares of land. This area tends to fluctuate from year to year. Around 10.6 percent of the total wheat area currently consists of summer wheat. The largest share of summer wheat was seen in 2011. Around one-quarter of the total wheat cultivation area consisted of summer wheat that year.

Arable crop cultivation area, 2021*
Gewasyear-on-year % change (year-on-year % change)
Seed onions11.3
Starch potatoes0.7
Seed potatoes0.6
Sugar beets-0.4
Ware potatoes-6.5