The average surface area of agricultural holdings amounted to 37.2 ha in 2018, that is 0.6 % more than in 2017. An average agricultural holding in Flanders takes up 26.4 ha and more than double in Wallonia (57.3 ha), according to the final agricultural results for 2018 of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office.
The total surface area for cereals remained stable at national level (-0.3 %), with a slight increase in Flanders (+1.1 %) and a slight decrease in Wallonia (-1.4 %). With regard to cereals, winter wheat and winter barley have registered a decrease that was almost entirely offset by the increase for grain maize.
The surface area of sugar beets remained stable compared to 2017, with a 3.3 % decrease in Flanders and a 2.1 % increase in Wallonia. The surface area of flax has decreased by 7.7 %, both in Flanders and in Wallonia. We can also see an increase for oils seeds, which is entirely due to the increase of soybeans in Flanders and of other oil seeds in Wallonia.
The total area for potatoes remained stable in Belgium in 2018 (+477 ha or +0.5 %). There was however a decrease of 2,063 ha (or -4 %) in Flanders, while an increase of 2,517 ha (or +6.2 %) was registered in Wallonia. Due to the wet weather in the spring, the surface area for early potatoes has decreased (-25.8 %). This decrease was fully offset by the increase of the surface area for ware potatoes.
The total surface area for fodder crops has increased by 4.5 % (or 12,400 ha) in 2018. This increase was almost exclusively explained by the rise of the surface area for green maize (+8,466 ha), temporary pastures (+2,200 ha) and leguminous plants (+1,111 ha).
The total surface area for outdoor vegetables remained stable at 49,890 ha in 2018.
The total cattle population has increased in 2018 by 0.5 %, both in Flanders and in Wallonia. The number of bovine animals younger than 1 year has increased by 24,278 animals (+3.5 %). The largest percentage increase concerned calves for slaughter (+5.7 %). Bovine animals aged 1 to 2 years registered a 4.1 % decrease. The increase in the number of heifers older than 2 years (+1.6 %) was almost entirely due to the increase in Wallonia (+2.7 %). In both regions, there was an increase in the number of dairy cows (+1.9 %). The largest increase occurred in Flanders (+2.7 %). However, the suckler cow population has decreased by 1.6 %. The decrease was entirely due to the decline in Flanders (-3.8 %), while this population remained stable in Wallonia.
The pig population has increased by 1.7 % in 2018. This increase was due to the rise in the number of piglets of less than 20 kg (+2,1 %) and in the number of pigs between 20 and 50 kg (+2.8 %) and fattening pigs (+1.9 %). The number of sows has decreased by 2.4 %.