Agricultural income increases by 1.4%
In 2020, income from agriculture and forestry is believed to be an average of € 28,368 per farm and thus shows an increase of + 1.4% compared to the previous year (2019: € 27,966). A significant increase in yields in market crops, the increase in public funds through the COVID-19 aid packages and an increase in yields in the dairy industry have a positive effect on income.
In addition, there were sharp price increases in fruit growing and higher yields in pig farming. However, the withholding income in forestry, higher maintenance, especially for machines and equipment, as well as increased investments and increased material costs for animal husbandry and increased material costs had a negative impact on income.
With the exception of the fodder farms, which, however, quickly make up half of the farms, all other types of farms recorded an increase in income in 2020. The largest increase (+ 34%) was achieved by the permanent crop farms, while the market fruit farms showed an increase of 10%. The forestry operations increased compared to 2019 (+ 6%).
Higher grain yields and increased public funds led to an increase of 2% in the processing companies. The mixed farms also recorded an increase of 2%. Higher expenses for maintenance and expenses for the decrease in income of 8% of the fodder farms decisive.
Mountain farmers earn less again, income of organic farmers increases slightly
Compared to 2019, the income gap between mountain farms and non-mining farms widened again. At an average of € 21,827, incomes were 23% below the incomes of all farms.
At the organic farms, income increased by 1% to € 27,951 in 2020. The increase is due to higher land use income and compensation from COVID-19 payments. The expansion of the oil squash and sunflower, combined with an increase in fruit sales despite frost-related crop failures, improved this development, according to the Green Report.
Increase in plant-based products, corona-related decline in animal products
Basically, the primary sector contributed around 1.3% to the gross value added of the economy in 2020. The production value of the land and property accounts to around 9.4 billion euros, which means a decrease of 0.7%. Agriculture accounted for € 7.7 billion and forestry accounted for € 1.7 billion.
According to the 2020 report, the value of crop production will increase by 5.7% compared to the previous year. This was due to the increased production volume. Spring frosts and a pronounced spring drought followed from early summer with sufficient rainfall, which meant that the harvests were better than initially expected. A significantly higher production than in the previous year was achieved primarily for root crops as well as forage and protein crops, whereas fruit growing was affected by frost damage.
The value of animal production was slightly below the previous year’s result (–0.6%). In 2020, this development was mainly characterized by the pandemic-related sales problems and price declines for cattle and pigs. With an increasing deterioration in the situation over the course of the year, especially in the pig industry, the decline in animal production value for 2020 as a whole, for example due to increased revenues in milk production, has a moderate impact.
Earnings situation for forest owners remains difficult
Climate change is still particularly noticeable for forestry. Wind throws due to weather events such as storms and bark beetle calamities after prolonged dry periods also caused large amounts of damaged wood, as the Green Report shows. In 2020, logging in the Austrian forest amounted to around 16.79 million cubic meters of harvest, 11.2% below the previous year, 6% below the five-year average and 5.7% below the ten-year average.
The earnings situation of the forest owners therefore remained particularly difficult in 2020. The reasons given in the Green Report, in addition to the once again somewhat easier wood prices (-4.8% compared to 2019), are the high processing costs of damaged wood, the loss of quality caused by delayed recording and the increased need for investment in reforestation. The production value of the forestry sector fell by more than 13.4% in 2019.
The Forest Fund Act passed in July 2020 is intended to remedy this. This is intended to create the basis for compensation for losses in value caused by bark beetles as well as for a number of investment measures in the future of domestic forests, the report says.
Agricultural foreign trade defies the corona crisis
Although there was an overall downward trend in Austria’s foreign trade in 2020 due to the Corona crisis, agricultural foreign trade developed positively. Compared to the previous year, the exports of agricultural products rose by 3.7% to 12.75 billion euros and imports by 0.24% to 12.77 billion euros, which meant an agricultural trade deficit of 14.7 million euros.
When it came to trading in agricultural products, the EU countries were Austria’s most important trading partners. 82.5% of imports and 74.5% of exports went to the EU area. Important trading partners from third countries are China, Switzerland and the United States. Austria achieved the largest export surplus with the USA, led by Germany and Russia. Countries with which Austria has the largest trade deficit are the Netherlands, Spain, Hungary, Turkey and Poland.
Funding will increase by 5.2% in 2020
As far as payments from the EU, federal and state pots for domestic agriculture and forestry are concerned, there was an increase to € 2.25 billion in 2020. That is around 5.2% or € 112 million more than in 2019. For the 1st pillar of the CAP, € 710 million or 32% of the agricultural budget was spent on around 104,375 farms and agricultural communities and around 25 companies.
For the 2nd pillar of the CAP, the Rural Development Program 14-20, around € 1.15 billion (51%) was spent in 2020 on around 105,171 businesses and around 2,203 companies and institutes. For purely national measures, a total of € 389 million (17%) was raised – mainly by the federal states.
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