Farming

Advancing technology and new farming methods offer a new approach to agricultural production with the potential to drastically change its effect on the environment. From drones and satellites to IoT and Artificial Intelligence, technological innovation is reshaping the farming industry. The global smart farming market has been steadily growing over the last years and is projected to grow even faster in the coming years.

Additionally, vertical farming reduces the reliance on weather, skilled labor, high soil fertility, and water consumption. It allows for a more consistent and reliable yield throughout the year and minimizes the chance of negative external effects such as disease or pests. The ability to use vertical space and reduce the need for additional land and construction activity contributes to the appeal of vertical farming in large cities. The market is most prominent in the Asia Pacific region and North America.

Projected vertical farming market worldwide
15.7bn USD
Size of the smart farming market in Europe
3.1bn USD
Country with the largest organic agricultural land area
Australia

Industry insights

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing – global 2020

Study

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Grain market overview

Global grain production has shown resilience to economic shocks
Total global grain production from 2008/2009 to 2020/2021 (in million metric tons)
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Global grain production in 2020/21 is forecast to expand by 23 million tons, to 2,210 million tons, including record harvests of wheat and barley. Europe yielded more than 150 million tons of wheat in 2019/20 accounting for more than one-fifth of the world's wheat production.

Although the pandemic has changed the demand in some sectors, consumption of main grain sectors such as corn is predicted to grow in coming years.

Worldwide wheat overview
Corn in the U.S.
Global rice market

Livestock farming segment

Increasing worldwide meat production
Leading beef and veal producing countries worldwide in 2020 (in 1,000 metric tons)
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Rapid changes in human demographics and eating habits, have led to substantial increases in livestock production. Cattle meat such as beef and veal is one of the most widely consumed types of meat across the globe. The United States is the top producer of beef and veal, with more than 30 million cattle slaughtered annually. Pork is widely consumed and produced in China and Europe. As of April 2020, China was home to the largest number of pigs with over 310 million heads.

Global meat industry
Hog and pig farming
U.S. beef market

Regional overview of fruit and vegetables

Europe has a large and mature market for fruit and vegetables
Import value share of fresh fruit and vegetables of Europe and rest of the world in 2019*
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Market size and demand of fresh fruit and vegetables in Europe has brought an opportunity for large external suppliers especially in developing countries. Europe is responsible for half of all global fresh fruit and vegetable trade. Germany and the UK are the leading importers in this market. In 2019, Germany imported 11.1 billion euros of fruit and vegetables. The largest annual fruit harvest occurs in Asia. China alone produces some 240 million metric tons of fruit annually.

Fruit market in Europe
Global fruit production
Overview of the vegetable market worldwide

Industry trends

Technology has entered the farming sector
Size of the smart agriculture drone market worldwide from 2019 to 2024 (in billion U.S. dollars)
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Farm equipment has probably had the most significant impact on how farmers raise crops and care for livestock. In addition to tractors, combines, and robotic milk machines, smart farming solutions could completely change operations in arable farming. The market size for drones in smart farms will increase to 4.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2024. Precision crop farming in Europe is expected to grow from approximately one billion to 2.35 billion U.S. dollars by 2023.

Smart agriculture
Farm digitalization in the UK

Industry definition

Farming is one of the oldest businesses and comprises the cultivation of crops and livestock for food or use as biofuel. Major crops include corn, soybean, hay, rice, and wheat. The livestock sector mainly concentrates on cattle and dairy farming, hog and pig farming, poultry and egg production, and sheep and goat farming.

Common farming methods include conventional and organic farming. Conventional farming is the main farming method used during the 20th century and still dominates most farming today. Depending on national regulations, farmers are allowed to use chemical plant protectors and chemical fertilizers. Intensive mass livestock breeding is widely practiced. In contrast, the organic farming sector sets higher animal- and plant-friendly standards. Specific laws regulate organic crop production and livestock breeding. They dispense the use of chemical fertilizer and use natural fertilizers and pesticides instead.

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