In 2022, around 6,100 farms in Germany harvested a total of 3.8 million tons of vegetables. This was 12% less than in 2021 and 2% less than the average for the years 2016 to 2021. In addition to a lower cultivation area, the reasons for this included the heat and drought in the summer of 2022. Furthermore, a historic high of 4.3 million tons of vegetables was reached in 2021. As further reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), total vegetable cultivation areas dropped by 4% (to 126,400 hectares) compared to 2021. This meant that the area under vegetable cultivation was almost the same as the average for the years 2016 to 2021.
Organically farmed acreage declines for the first time since 2012
Organically managed farms produced a total of 431,000 tons of vegetables on a good 17,800 hectares. After a steady increase in organic acreage since the first survey in 2012 by a total of 71%, this fell for the first time in 2022 by 4% compared to 2021, while harvest volume decreased by 10%. The share of fully organic production in the total vegetable harvest and area was unchanged in each case at 11% of the harvested volume and 14% of the cultivated area.
Harvest volume of carrots down 19%, onions down 13%
Carrots on an open-ground area of 13,600 hectares, were the vegetable with the largest harvest volume in Germany in 2022, at 780,500 tons, as in previous years. With a 9% reduction in the area under cultivation compared to the previous year, the harvest volume dropped by 19%. The vegetable type with the second-largest harvest volume was onions, with 578,200 tons (-13% compared to 2021), followed by white cabbage with 384,700 tons (-12%), pickled cucumbers with 168,500 tons (-1%) and iceberg lettuce with 138,800 tons (+6%).
In terms of total open-ground vegetable acreage, carrots were in third place behind asparagus, which is very popular in Germany, with some 25,000 hectares (-2%), of which 21,300 hectares were productive (-5%), and onions with 15,100 hectares (+4%). This was followed by white cabbage with 5,400 hectares (-2%), fresh peas with 5,000 hectares (-11%), and edible pumpkins with 4,800 hectares (+-0%).
Two-thirds of open-ground vegetable acreage in four German states
A total of 125,200 hectares of vegetables were grown outside in 2022. This represents a 4% decrease in the area under open-ground cultivation compared to 2021. In 2022, the largest areas under vegetables were in North Rhine-Westphalia with 28,700 hectares, in Lower Saxony with 21,900 hectares, in Rhineland-Palatinate with 16,000 hectares, and in Bavaria with 15,800 hectares. The most important vegetables were asparagus and carrots in North Rhine-Westphalia, asparagus and onions in Lower Saxony and Bavaria, and radishes and onions in Rhineland-Palatinate.
In greenhouses, tomatoes and cucumbers accounted for 83% of the crop volume
The cultivation of vegetables under high protective covers, for example, in greenhouses or high film covers, also declined in 2022 compared with the previous year. Both acreage and harvested volume decreased by about 4% to just under 1,300 hectares and 194,400 tons, respectively. Tomatoes accounted for the largest crop volume in protected cultivation at 102,200 tons - almost unchanged from 2021. The vegetable with the second largest crop volume was cucumbers at 59,000 tons (-12%), followed by peppers at just over 16,900 tons (-5%).