Just over 82% of the agricultural area utilised (the area farmed) or 4,509,256ha on Irish farms is in grassland, the Census of Agriculture for 2020 shows.

This number was down marginally on 82.7% in 2010.

The area of cereals continues to reduce: the 2020 area of 265,592ha was down 3% on the 2010 total, while the area used for rough grazing was up 3.3% to 451,537ha.

It will come as no surprise that the counties with the largest area farmed also have the largest grassland area, with counties along the western seaboard and Tipperary having the largest grassland areas.

Most of the country’s rough grazing land was located in Donegal, Kerry, Mayo and Galway in 2020 and Mayo, Donegal, Galway, Kerry and Wicklow had 327,460ha of commonage, 77.7% of the total in the State.


The number of farms producing cereals has continued to decline since 1991. Some 23,183 farms grew cereals in 1991 and this declined by almost 60% to 9,401 in 2020.

The area of wheat fell by almost 40% between 2010 and 2020, with 46,970ha grown in 2020 compared to 78,000ha in 2010, and the area of oats increased last year on 2010 by 28.9% to 25,408ha.

The area sown to barley increased in 2020 compared to 2010 by 10.5% to 193,186ha.