the number of farms in County Laois has fallen over the last ten years but the average farm size has increased by almost two hectares according to figures from the census of agriculture which was carried out in 2010.
The Census of Agriculture 2010 is a detailed snapshot of agricultural activity in Ireland. This is the first full Census of Agriculture conducted since June 2000.
The survey measured the total number of bulls, dairy cows and other cows in the survey.
Although the average number of farms with cattle had decreased by 10% in the last ten years, Laois had the largest number of ‘other cows’ per farms.
There are now just over 50 potato farms in the county, decreasing from 193 in 2000 to just 66 in 2010.
There was also a sharp drop in number of farms producing cereal crops since the last census of agriculture, but the average area under cereals increased by 5 hectares. In 2010, there was 728 cereal farms, compared with 888 in 2000.
There are just 31 pig farms in the county now, and a total of 35,885 pigs.
According to the census there is an average of approximately 139 sheep on the 419 sheep farms across the county, giving a total of just under 60,000 sheep in the county on June 1, 2010, when the survey was carried out.
The number of poultry farms has also declined in the last decade, with 112 less poultry farms now. But the average number of birds in the conty has almost doubled in the last ten years from 51.4 birds in 2000 to 91.4 in 2010.
“While the number of farms are down, the size is up which means that people are consolidating farms,” new IFA Chairman, Pat Hennessy said.
“There’s not much difference in stock numbers and crops, which is positive.”
Mr Hennessy acknowledged that it was a worry, especially for rural Ireland to see the number of farms decreasing.”