NI Agricultural Census June 2006 Final results

NORTHERN IRELAND - The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has released the final results of the June 2006 agricultural census.
calendar icon 15 November 2006
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The results provide estimates of crop areas, numbers of livestock and of farmers and workers on active farm businesses on the census date of 1 June 2006.

The main changes between June 2005 and June 2006 are:

  • Farm businesses: The number of active farm businesses included in the June 2006 census, 26,739, was 325 fewer than in 2005. This is a net change, with some new businesses being created and others merging or ceasing to be active. The downward trend in the number of farms averages 2.0 per cent per year over both the past five years and the past 10 years.

  • Crops: There was a 7 per cent decrease in the total area of Cereals between 2005 and 2006. The area of winter barley increased by 15 per cent while the area of spring barley fell by 16 per cent. The area of oats decreased by 4 per cent, with wheat increasing by 4 per cent. The area of Potatoes was up by 5 per cent and there were significant increases for other field crops, including arable silage and forage maize.

  • Cattle: The total number of cattle on farms in June 2006 was 2 per cent lower than in 2005. The number of beef cows fell by 5 per cent but beef heifers in-calf rose by 3 per cent. Total dairy cow numbers increased by 2 per cent. Cattle for rearing and fattening were down by 2%.

  • Sheep: The number of ewes fell by 4 per cent when compared with June 2005 and there were 3 per cent fewer lambs.

  • Pigs: Overall, in June 2006 there were 5 per cent fewer pigs on farms compared with June 2005. However, the breeding herd was up by 2 per cent.

  • Poultry: Total poultry numbers increased by 5 per cent since June 2005. This was due, in the main, to a 7 per cent increase in the number of broilers. The breeding flock and the number of laying hens decreased by 2 per cent, and 6 per cent respectively.

  • Farmers and workers: In 2006 there were 2 per cent fewer farmers and business partners, reflecting the change in the number of farms. The total labour force was down by 2 per cent.

Further information from the Agricultural & Horticultural Census is available on the Statistics section of the DARD website. Summary results for 2006 can be found at

Spreadsheets show crop areas, numbers of livestock, farmers and workers and farms for the past 20 years. A new spreadsheet has been added showing the historic trend in the numbers of farms with each of the main enterprises, such as dairy cows or pigs, and the average enterprise size.

Full details of the coverage of the census and of terms used were given in the booklet "The Agricultural Census in Northern Ireland: Results for June 2005" (DARD, 2005) which is available in full on The 2006 version of this annual publication will be available in hard copy and on that site in January 2007.

Further Information

To read the full report, click here (PDF)

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