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Modern mechanised agriculture permits large fields like this one in Dorset, England

Arable land (Latin: arabilis, "able to be plowed") is any land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops.[1] Alternatively, for the purposes of agricultural statistics,[2] the term often has a more precise definition: "Arable land is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow (less than five years). The abandoned land resulting from shifting cultivation is not included in this category. Data for 'Arable land' are not meant to indicate the amount of land that is potentially cultivable."[3] A more concise definition appearing in the Eurostat glossary similarly refers to actual rather than potential uses: "land worked (ploughed or tilled) regularly, generally under a system of crop rotation".[4]

Non-arable land can sometimes be converted to arable land through methods such as loosening and tilling (breaking up) of the soil, though in more extreme cases the degree of modification required to make certain types of land arable can be prohibitively expensive.[5] In Britain, arable land has traditionally been contrasted with pasturable land such as heaths, which could be used for sheep-rearing but not as farmland.

Arable land area

World map of arable land, percentage by country (2006)[6]
Latin: arabilis, "able to be plowed") is any land capable of being ploughed and used to grow crops.[1] Alternatively, for the purposes of agricultural statistics,[2] the term often has a more precise definition: "Arable land is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow (less than five years). The abandoned land resulting from shifting cultivation is not included in this category. Data for 'Arable land' are not meant to indicate the amount of land that is potentially cultivable."[3] A more concise definition appearing in the Eurostat glossary similarly refers to actual rather than potential uses: "land worked (ploughed or tilled) regularly, generally under a system of crop rotation".[4]

Non-arable land can sometimes be converted to arable land through methods such as loosening and tilling (breaking up) of the soil, though in more extreme cases the degree of modification required to make certain types of land arable can be prohibitively expensive.[5] In Britain, arable land has traditionally been contrasted with pasturable land such as heaths, which could be used for sheep-rearing but not as farmland.