A Projection of Irish Agricultural Structure Using Markov Chain Analysis, 1985-2000

JEL Classification: Q12

McKeon, Orla H.

Department of Economics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland


Structural change in six Irish farming enterprise sectors is projected into the future using the Krenz (1964) modified version of the Markov Chain technique. In this paper, the application of the technique is based on the assumption that all those forces that influenced agricultural structural change in the past will continue to do so into the future. The projected pattern of structural change shows a continuing decline in the number of holdings involved in each enterprise sector and an increasing concentration on larger holdings. Pig farming is projected to experience the greatest proportionate decline in the number of holdings involved (-80%, 1985-2000) whilst cattle is projected to experience the least decline (-14%, 1985-2000). Entries into sheep farming in some year are also projected.