In Germany, agricultural land use is very heterogeneous with respect to management orientation and productivity even at the local level. In addition, there is a wide variation in the reasons for farm exits. A review of the literature shows that a limited number of explanatory variables are generally accepted as being driving forces for farm exit rates. For the majority of indicators, ambiguous results are reported. In this paper, we analyse the determining factors of farm exit rates in Germany by examining municipalities from 1999 to 2007.We evaluate the robustness of the relationship between a set of explanatory variables and farm exit rates at different spatial scales.Our results indicate that the direction of impact of some variables (farm size, population density and the share of ruminants kept at low intensity as a fraction of the total ruminant stock) on farm exit rates is unambiguous throughout Germany. For the majority of the analysed explanatory variables, the strength of their impact on farm exit rates depends on their observation level or regional context.
© 2011 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart