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Agricultural Holdings

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 9 May 1985

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1955 the number of agricultural holdings larger than the threshold below which minor holdings have been excluded from the census from time to time; and if he will distinguish the number of tenanted holdings.

[pursuant to her reply, 26 April 1985, c. 587]: The information requested is as follows:

Main agricultural Holdings in England and Wales
Thousands
Main holdingsOf which rented or mainly rented*
1955†376·3
1956371·4
1957367·9
1958362·0
1959357·3
1960350·9
1961344·7
1962340·5
1963335·7
1964328·8
1965323·8
1966318·1
1967306·6
1968‡254·3
1969245·9
1970||233·492·9
1971228·686·9
1972220·284·8
1973¶212·882·5
1974211·481·4
1975206·277·7
1976204·474·9
1977199·171·1
1978198·068·4
1979197·565·2
1980●185·260·3
1981185·158·3
1982185·456·4
1983186·055·0
1984182·952·8
* Information on tenure is not available for years before 1970.
† From 1955 to 1967, all holdings with an acre or more were

included, except where agricultural activity was known to be small.

‡ From 1968 to 1969, main holdings were those with at least an acre in total and—at least 10 acres of crops and grass, or at least one full-time worker, or a standard labour requirement of at least 26 standard man days a year.

|| From 1970, holdings with less than an acre were included, if they met one of the three other criteria at ‡.

¶ From 1973, the standard man day criterion was raised to 40, the other two criteria remaining the same.

● From 1980, the threshold criteria were changed to include holdings with one or more of the following: at least six hectares of total area; a standard annual labour requirement of at least 100 standard man days; at least one regular whole-time worker; a glasshouse area of at least 100 sq. metres.

General

Changes in numbers of holdings from year to year are affected by addition and deletion of smaller holdings near the threshold, and by the amalgamation of previously separate holdings. This is a continuous process but in some years special exercises produce larger changes. For instance, the net fall of 3,000 between 1983 and 1984 was largely the result of reclassifying holdings up or down across the threshold, following the June 1983 census and the minor holdings census of March 1983. Such changes affecting smaller holdings are of little significance in measuring the aggregates of agricultural activity.