The primary crops grown in Ireland are barley, wheat, oats, potatoes and sugar beets. As of 2014, most of the country's farmland is dedicated to supporting livestock for export to meet a high demand for meat overseas.
The climate and soil quality in Ireland favor the growth of grass over arable crops. This makes the land ideal for livestock farming. The country supports a widespread cattle industry as well as dairy farming and sheep, horse and pig farms. The pastoral farming industry is supported by a high demand for livestock in Britain and continental Europe. The European Union provides secure markets and improved prices for Ireland's products as of 2014, which has led to an increase in Ireland's agricultural income over the 20 preceding years.
As of 2014, 19.5 percent of Ireland's total land area is dedicated to agriculture. Around 7.5 percent of land is used to grow crops, primarily in the east, although potatoes and oats can be raised in the west as well. Most of the farms in Ireland are small in comparison to other agricultural nations. In 1999, the estimated yield of the nation's principal crops was 1.7 million tons of sugar beets, 1.3 million tons of barley, 600,000 tons of wheat, 560,000 tons of potatoes and 136,000 tons of oats.