In 2021, 6,260 farms in Germany harvested 4.3 million tons of vegetables. This was 10% more than in 2020 and 15% more than the average for the years 2015 to 2020, due in part to favorable weather conditions in 2021. The Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) further reports that vegetable cultivation acreage was expanded by 4% to 131,900 hectares compared with 2020. This was 5% more than the average for the years 2015 to 2020. Organic farms produced a total of 476,700 tons of vegetables on 18 500 hectares. This represents 14% of the total vegetable area and 11% of the total harvest. Compared to 2020, the amount harvested on organically farmed land increased by 18%, and by as much as 47% compared to the average from 2015 to 2020.
Carrots highest open field crop volume, followed by onions
The dominant vegetable within German agriculture is the carrot. In 2021, around 962,000 tons of these were harvested from the open field in Germany. Compared to 2020, this represented an increase of 20% and, compared to the average for the years 2015 to 2020, even 40%. The vegetable with the second largest harvest volume in 2021 was the edible onion with 664,300 tons (+23% to 2020), followed by white cabbage with 434,900 tons (-2%).
Carrots now grow on an open field acreage of 14,900 hectares. This represents an increase of 8% compared to 2020. In terms of total open field vegetable acreage, carrots are in second place, behind asparagus with 25,700 hectares. The acreage for asparagus remained almost constant compared to the previous year. Thereby, the harvestable area was 22,300 hectares or 87% of the total asparagus acreage. Consumption onions had the third largest acreage with 14 500 hectares (+18%).
Largest open field acreage under vegetables in NRW, Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate
In total, vegetables were grown outdoors on a good 130,500 hectares in 2021. This represents a 4% increase in the area under open-air cultivation compared with 2020, and a 5% increase compared with the average for the years 2015 to 2020. In 2021, the largest areas under vegetable cultivation outdoors were in North Rhine-Westphalia with 29,000 hectares, Lower Saxony with 22,300 hectares and Rhineland-Palatinate with 17,900 hectares.
Tomatoes and cucumbers are the main greenhouse crops
Vegetables are not only grown outdoors, but also under high protective covers that can be walked on, for example greenhouses or high film covers. This area under cultivation was just over 1,300 hectares (+4% compared to 2020), with a harvested volume of 201,500 tons (+3%) in 2021. Tomatoes accounted for the largest volume in protected cultivation with 101,800 tons - almost unchanged compared to 2020. The vegetable with the second largest volume was the cucumber, with 67,000 tons (+6%) followed by bell peppers with 17,800 tons (+11%).