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Destatis: Greenhouse acreage remains constant

2020 vegetable harvest volume around last year's levels

In 2020, farms in Germany harvested a total of 3.9 million tons of vegetables. The total harvest volume was thus at the previous year's level and just under 6% above the average for the years 2014 to 2019. As the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) further reports, the number of farms growing vegetables decreased by some 7% from 6,580 to 6,100 compared with the last full survey in 2016.

Just under 5,900 farms produced vegetables in the open on a good 125,200 hectares in 2020. Like the harvest volume, the area under field cultivation thus remained almost constant compared with 2019. Compared to the last full survey in 2016, however, it increased by just under 4%. In 2020, the largest open-air vegetable cultivation areas were in North Rhine-Westphalia with 25,000 hectares, Lower Saxony with 21,500 hectares and Rhineland-Palatinate with 18,500 hectares.

Organic cultivation produced a total of 379 600 tons of outdoor vegetables in 2020. This corresponds to 10% of the total harvest volume in the open field and an increase of almost 16% compared to 2019. Compared to the average of the years 2014 to 2019, the harvest volume even increased by more than one third (+34%). The area under organic vegetable cultivation in the open field in 2020 was 16,100 hectares, accounting for 13% of the total area under organic cultivation.

Asparagus with the largest area under cultivation, carrots with the largest harvest volume
Asparagus, carrots and onions are the most important crops in German vegetable production in terms of acreage. They grew on a good 41% of the cultivated area in 2020. With a total of 25,900 hectares (-5% compared to 2019), asparagus remained in first place. The harvestable asparagus area of 22 400 hectares yielded just under 117 600 tons in 2020, 10% less than in 2019.

Carrots came in second, with only a slight increase in acreage to 13,800 hectares and a crop size of 802,200 metric tons, the largest since German unification (+1.4% compared to 2019). Edible onions followed in third place with an area under cultivation of 12,300 hectares and a harvested volume of just under 539 700 tons (+ 2.0% and +3.4%, respectively, compared to 2019).

Despite the 2020 vegetable harvest remaining largely constant overall compared to the previous year, shifts can be seen in individual vegetable species. While cauliflower, with just over 3,040 hectares under cultivation and a harvest volume of 83,780 metric tons, showed the lowest figures in years, the cultivation areas and harvest volumes of kale (1,090 hectares and 18,500 metric tons, respectively) and Chinese cabbage (850 hectares and 38,650 metric tons, respectively) increased again. In the leafy vegetables sector, spinach was recorded at 3,970 hectares, the largest acreage in years, and a peak harvest volume of 83,470 tons.

In contrast, iceberg lettuce, arugula and other lettuces were unable to repeat the very high harvest volumes of the previous year. The cultivation of lettuce (1,310 hectares) reached a low point in 2020 with a harvest quantity of 42,670 tons. The same applies in the fruit vegetable sector for pickling cucumbers with a cultivation area of 1,760 hectares and a harvest quantity of 149,100 tons.

Tomatoes dominate greenhouse cultivation
In 2020, the area under cultivation in greenhouses and under other high protective covers that can be walked on remained almost constant compared to the previous year. Compared to 2016, areas were expanded by just under 4%. On the nearly 1,300 hectares, 1,650 farms harvested a good 195,000 tons of vegetables. The largest areas under this type of cultivation were tomatoes with 380 hectares, cucumbers with 240 hectares and lamb's lettuce with 180 hectares.

For more information: Destatis 

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