Cattle farming in Austria

Brown Swiss cows in the pasture
Photo: BMLRT / LFZ/Buchgraber

Since almost 60 percent of Austria's utilised agricultural area is grassland, cattle farming and milk production are the most important lines of production in agriculture.

In addition to pig keeping, cattle farming with about 1.9 million cattle held and over 55,000 cattle farmers (as of 1 December 2020) represents a significant part of the overall agricultural production in Austria. In 2020, the value of production amounted to 765 million euros, thus accounting for 21 % of the animal production. 

Cattle farming shows considerable differences between specialised cattle fattening, practised above all in regions with arable farming, and dairy farming in grassland. 

Like agriculture as a whole, also cattle farming is typically small-structured, which, however, makes it very difficult to compete.  

With a self-sufficiency rate of about 140 %, Austria’s beef market is traditionally characterised by “oversupply”. 

Currently farmers are facing particular challenges as regards animal welfare and the connection between animal husbandry and environmental aspects (emission reductions).