In the Alpine regions, due to the combination of relief, climate and soils, livestock farming and timber production is dominant. Farmers rely on cattle breeding and use the higher areas as summer pastures during. In the drier areas around the Ötztal Alps also sheep are bred, and this mountain farming reaches up to heights of over 2000m.
In the main agricultural centres, however, the Alpine foreland and the eastern flatlands, cropfarming is dominant. The most important field crops are wheat, maize, barley. The production of rapeseed is becoming increasingly important – for purposes of producing organic fuels as well as oils for consumption.
Farm sizes in Austria are smaller than the EU average, therefore it’s difficult to compete financially with large-scale industrial farming. Thus many farmers try to find niches where they produce goods that yield higher income compared to the input. Almost 12% of the farms produce organically (EU average: 4,1%).
The hilly areas in the north, Mühlviertel and Waldviertel (the Bohemian Massif) have long been known for rye, potatoes and poppy seed production. In recent years the production of herbs, spices (caraway seeds) and hops has been ventured. There have been successful efforts to produce even whisky, as the soft water and the rye resemble Scottish areas.
The flat areas in the east are also the main areas for wine-making, as the soils on loess and the climate are suitable. There are 16 wine growing districts reaching from the Danube valley (Wachau), to Weinviertel and Burgenland in the east to Eastern Styria in the south. The average annual harvest is about 2.5 million hectolitres.
Near the main agglomerations, especially east of Vienna, vegetable growing has become extremely important, including greenhouse production of e.g. tomatoes all the year round. In the Marchfeld region of Lower Austria asparagus is grown. Many of the farmers also produce vegetables to be processed in large factories.
Fruit farms are a speciality of Eastern Styria, they produce apples and peaches, but also elderberries (for eating and dyeing purposes). Another speciality of the region are oil squash pumpkins, which produce a dark green-brownish, very tasty oil.
Thus, based on the clear-cut climato-ecological regionalization of Austria, a remarkable regional specialization of farm-types can be discerned.
Last modified: Donnerstag, 6 September 2012, 11:41