Information is one of the main components of any activity. The Internet is such a large marketplace for this, which may require one to seek help in navigating it to find the data they want. The European Commission is quite an obvious source for help. The European Commission’s “Agriculture and fishery statistics,” pocketbook is a resource that “presents selected tables and graphs providing an overview on developments and the situation in the agricultural sector of the European Union.” As Utilized Agricultural Area accounts for 42% of the whole EU-27 territorial area, even though it varies from country to country (from 7% in Finland and Sweden, to 71% in UK), one might see how important this agricultural activity is there.
Of course, the latest statistical data is from 2010, but one can find the general pattern. For example, two- thirds of EU dairy cows are kept on specialist dairy farms. The table shows how much diversity the EU contains: Large herds (farms with at least 100 dairy cows) represent only 1.3% of total holding, but makeup 46.5% of the Danish holdings, 33.3% of Chypre holdings and 27.3% in the UK. On the opposite side, there are very few large herds in France and Portugal (2.4%). Anyway, Spain, France, Poland and the UK produce 53% of the European yield.
Over the past 15 years, a quota system somewhat stabilized the quantity of large dairy cow herds, but their uses have changed with greater demand for cheese and cream for direct consumption. One-third of the European yield is made up of fresh products, such as drinking milk, cream or others as yogurt and milk-based drinks. That leaves two-thirds for milk powder, butter, cheese and other manufactured, exportable products.
Animal slaughtering by species shows the size and the heterogeneity of European herds: 7,902 million tons for cattle; 22,046 Mt for pigs; 11,640 Mt for poultry. Meanwhile, sheep (716 Mt) and goats (59 Mt) are not as wide-spread.
The best way to discover European agriculture seems to be by viewing the pocketbook on the European Commission’s website (http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/agriculture/introduction)