Market trends

Background 616 views

Less expansion and fewer dairy farms in Belgium

The percentage of cattle farmers in Belgium expanding their farm is reduced to 11.9% in 2017. At the same time, the number of farmers that ceased farming has almost doubled.

There is also a declining trend in the percentage of successors. These are the results from a survey done by market bureau AgriDirect. The results are based on an annual telephone inventory among Belgian cattle farms. In mid-2017, almost 2,600 cattle farmers in Belgium were asked about their future investment plans.

Future plans

From 2010 to 2017 a downward trend can be seen for cattle farms that wanted to expand or have their business continue with a successor. In 2010, 34.2% of the respondents said they wanted to expand or continue with a successor. In 2017 this percentage dropped to 11.9%. The percentage of farmers in the cattle sector that have plans to end (close) their business completely has almost doubled for the second year in a row. Since 2015 there has been an upward trend in the number of farms that closed. The percentage rose from 2.7% in 2016 to 5.2% in 2017.

Fewer successors

In the Belgian cattle sector, 41.5% of farmers (with a farmer of 50 years or older) relies on having a successor in 2017. 22.4% of this percentage states that the successor is already included in the farm (partnership). There is also a declining trend concerning the latter. From 2012 the percentage has dropped from 60.4% to 41.0%.

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