Agricultural map of Poland

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Polish farms are becoming more and more specialized. While they reduce the average size, their efficiency is on the rise. Another trend is the appearance of large farms which specialize in the cultivation of plants.

Cereals in the lead

Plant cultivation constitutes 40% of the total value of agricultural production in Poland. The most popular type of crop are cereals (over 73% of the plantations), and canola (9% of the plantations), maize, sugar beets and potatoes. The structure of plantations varies greatly from region to region.

Diversification concerns the average acreage of plantations as well. The regions with the largest share of large-surface farms are Wielkopolskie (13,9%), Mazowieckie (11,2%) and Lubelskie (10%) voivodeships. 1/3 of the total volume of grain production comes from those three voivodeships. Other regions top the ranking of the largest yield per hectare, though. Smaller voivodeships, namely Opolskie (163,3%), Dolnośląskie (132,9%) and Śląskie (111,1%) have proven to be the most efficient.

More potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous, less calcium

The increase of plant cultivation is visible in the growing consumption of mineral fertilizers with an addition of NPK. Polish farmers have been resigning from liming the soil (the quantity has fallen from 100 kg/hectare in the 1990′ to 33 kg/hectare in 2011). Farmers from Świętokrzyskie, Małopolskie and Podkarpackie voivodeships have reported the lowest use of limestone fertilizers.

The consumption of NPK fertilizers is rising the most in those voivodeships where the production levels are the highest. There are a few voivodeships where the use of those fertilizers has fallen between 2004 and 2011. They include Małopolskie, Podkarpackie and Świętokrzyskie. In Małopolska region the downward trend had started in 2000.

Livestock farming dominates

The chief part of Polish agricultural market is the production of livestock, responsible for almost 55% of the total production volume. It varies from region to region, however. The most pigs are bred in Wielkopolske and Kujawsko-Pomorskie voivodeships. Podlasie, Mazowsze and Wielkopolska are the regions with the largest herds of dairy cows and cattle.

Lower quantity, higher quality

The overview of Polish agriculture indicates the trend towards the concentration and specialization of farms, accompanied by the decreasing acreage of the cultivated land. Concentration concerns the farms which focus of livestock breeding (pigs, cattle, dairy cows) as well as those which deal with plant cultivation. However, if we look at the farms which take up over 100 hectares, those which specialize in plant cultivation dominate. Also, they are resigning from livestock breeding altogether. The progressing specialization of farms makes it possible to reduce the acreage of cultivated land, and boost the output capacity and efficiency. Other factors, such as social changes, increasing environmental awareness as well as the spread of computer skills and internet access on the farms, are also making an impact on the shape which Polish agriculture is currently taking.

You can read more about the topic in “25 years of Polish agriculture. Food security in Europe” Report.