Up until the 1980’s, the majority of farms in western Germany were incredibly small, averaging under 125 acres per owner. Amazingly enough, these small farmers accounted for over one-fourth of the agricultural production in the country at the time; however, that era ended by the beginning of the 21st century. As the small farms turned to big farms the population of agriculturalists throughout the workforce decreased, as well. Farmers went from representing approximately one-fifth of the total German population to making up less than 3% of the country.
On the contrary, eastern Germany was split up after World War II, and at the acquisition of the Soviet army, farms were retained as state farms. As an affect of this, the majority of German farms were forced to use their land towards production agriculture for the country. This caused the farms to get bigger, and by the mid 1980’s, co-op enterprises were averaging over 11,000 acres of land per farm.
Despite the fact that the number of agriculturalists were at a significant decline, as time evolved, so did the technologies. German technologies were able to overcompensate for the lack of individuals working in the ag industry by implementing innovative machinery and technologies.
Germany grows diverse commodities depending on the landscape and soil fertility of the area. For instance, high fertility soil crops include: wheat, barley, corn, and sugar beets. Whereas the inferior soils are used in the production of potatoes, rye, oats, and fodder beets.
Additionally, throughout much of Germany, eggs, swine, veal beef, and poultry are produced in mass amounts. This type of agriculture tends to be confined into large battery production units. Although this form of production dissociates the livestock from contact with the soil completely, many Germans are showing growing concern of the livestock’s welfare. It has also been proven that this type of confinement has caused an increase in groundwater pollution.
Aside from the other commodities, Germany is also known for their widespread dairy production, and growth of flowers, vegetables, and fruits.