Arable crop area up by 3 percent

© Hollandse Hoogte / Flip Franssen
As of 2023, the agricultural area devoted to arable crop farming has increased by 14.4 thousand to a total of 549 thousand hectares. The wheat acreage has increased most strongly, but seed onions and legumes as well are being cultivated more than in 2022. Potatoes, sugar beets and silage maize are being cultivated less this year. Despite the increase in 2023, the total area devoted to arable crops has decreased by over 13 percent relative to 2000. This is based on provisional results from the 2023 Agricultural Census, conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Arable area
PeriodeCereals (x 1,000 ha)Potatoes (x 1,000 ha)Sugar beets (x 1,000 ha)Vegetable crops (x 1,000 ha)Seed onions (x 1,000 ha)Other arable crops (x 1,000 ha)
*Provisional figures.

As of this year, Dutch farmers cultivate wheat on 130 thousand hectares (ha) of land. This is around 6 thousand ha (4.9 percent) more than in 2022, when the wheat acreage was also up by over 4 percent year on year. Winter wheat cultivation has increased by 12.3 percent compared to 2022, standing at over 121 thousand ha. The acreage for summer wheat has declined by 45.1 percent to just under 9 thousand ha. This acreage fluctuates from year to year; it was largest in 2011, when summer wheat occupied around a quarter of the total wheat cultivation area (versus 7 percent in 2023).

Barley area has declined

The barley production area is slightly under 36 thousand ha, 3.2 percent less than in 2022. The area for summer barley has declined by 21.5 percent to 20.6 thousand ha. Just as with wheat, cultivation of the winter variety has increased, namely by 42.3 percent to 15 thousand ha.

More yellow seed onions

Seed onion cultivation occupies a total of 29.2 thousand. This is nearly 2 thousand ha (6.7 percent) more than in the previous year. The area still declined by 9 percent in 2022. Yellow seed onions are cultivated on 87 percent of the seed onion acreage, with the remaining 13 percent dedicated to red seed onions.

Slightly smaller area for ware potatoes

The acreage for ware potatoes has declined by 1.5 percent to 75 thousand ha. The area increased by 7.3 percent in 2022. The areas for seed potatoes and starch potatoes have shrunk by 7.2 and 1.8 percent respectively.
In 2023, nearly half (48 percent) of the potato acreage consists of ware potatoes. Around one-quarter of the total potato cultivation area is for seed and starch potatoes.

Protein-rich legumes and fibre crops on the rise

Protein-richt legumes (e.g. brown beans and field beans) and plants grown for fibre (e.g. flax and hemp) do not yet have large crop areas, although the areas have increased substantially. Legume cultivation has grown by 81 percent to 7.8 thousand ha. The increase is mainly due to a doubling of the field bean area (to 4.3 thousand ha). The cultivation area for fibre crops - flax and hemp – has increased by 18.6 percent to 4.3 thousand ha.

Cultivation area by crop type
Gewas2023* (x 1,000 ha)2022 (x 1,000 ha)2021 (x 1,000 ha)
Silage maize179.75183.27186.12
Potatoes (total)158.05163.06160.3
Wheat (total)130.44124.35119.38
Sugar beets80.6381.7480.69
Barley (total)35.6736.8630.08
Seed onions (total)29.2727.4230.12
Legumes and fibre crops
(flax and hemp)
*Provisional figures.

CBS publishes the figures on arable farming later than usual this year, due to a delay in obtaining the results from the so-called Gecombineerde Opgave (combined declaration) for the census.