Agriculture is a very important sector of the Irish economy. It accounts for around 7% of gross domestic product, 7.2% of total exports and 10.3% of total employment.
Of the total land area of approximately 7 million hectares (17 million acres), 5 million hectares (12.32 million acres) are utilised for agricultural purposes (including forestry). Cattle raising and dairying are by far the most important sectors of the agricultural industry and livestock (mainly cattle) and livestock products (principally milk) account for over 85% of the value of gross agricultural output. The main crops are barley, wheat, sugar-beet, potatoes and mushrooms.