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Regional specialization and concentration of European livestock: situation and explanatory factors

INRA Prod Anim 28(1) 5-22


1 IFIP-Institut du porc, Pôle Economie, F-35651 Le Rheu, France
2 INRA, UMR 1302 SMART, F-35011 Rennes, France
3 Agrocampus Ouest, UMR 1302 SMART, F-35011, Rennes, France
4 INRA, UR 1134 LERECO, F-44316 Nantes, France
5 Institut de l’élevage, département Economie, F-75595 Paris, France
6 ITAVI, service Economie, 7 rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, F-75009 Paris, France
7 ESA, LARESS, 55 rue Rabelais, F-49007 Angers, France


This article aims at analyzing the recent location patterns (since 2000) of animal productions (milk, beef, pork, poultry and eggs) in the Member States of the European Union. The geographical concentration process and the productive specialization of territories are studied from the latest available statistical data at a fine geographical level. The drivers of this process are not new and have already been mentioned in many economists’ publications. They are related to comparative advantages, scale economies and agglomeration economies as well as to the industrial organization of the supply chain. Although the environmental standards(Nitrates Directive, Natura 2000…) and the rural development measures (specific support to farmers in less-favored farming areas)are viewed as a tool to limit or reduce animal concentration, their influence is often weak and not sufficiently strong to counterbalance the above-mentioned agglomeration forces. In addition, we compared the pattern of co-location of different animal production within EU countries and the specialization structure of European regions among countries. For example, the production of granivores (pigs and poultry) tends to be located in the same geographical areas. However, association of dairy cows and pigs is the most common in the most densely populated areas. Beef cattle tend to be located in low animal density areas where other livestock have difficulty being established or maintained.