According to preliminary data, a total of 10,723 GWh of energy was consumed in agriculture and horticulture in 2020. The sector accounts for three per cent of total energy consumption in Finland. Total energy consumption decreased slightly from the previous statistical year of 2016. The use of electricity continued to increase, and the significance of renewable wood- or field-based energy in heating increased.
The use of energy on agricultural and horticultural farms has become more efficient during the past decade. During the previous ten years, the number of farms has decreased by 14, 000 (-23%). An even smaller group of farms produces the fairly stable production volumes, while cultivation areas have remained unchanged.
“An increase in the consumption of fuel oil is an interesting finding. As the farm size is increasing, the size and power of machinery have also increased and distances between parcels have become longer. In addition, machines are used in more and more tasks, such as livestock farming”, says Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen, senior statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Renewable energy accounts for nearly 60 per cent of heat generation
Forest chips were the most important fuel used in heating in agriculture and horticulture, totalling slightly more than 3,000 GWh. The number of plants that use solid wood-, field- and peat-based fuels has increased and, in particular, the consumption of heavy fuel oil used in heating by large enterprises has decreased clearly.
Enterprises that require large amounts of heat energy, such as greenhouse enterprises, have largely shifted to use solid fuels. Light fuel oil users include enterprises that are concerned over the cost of investments in new heating methods. Light fuel oil is consumed in large quantities in cereal drying, with the volume of the cereal harvest and relative humidity having an impact on the volume of oil consumed.
The use of peat decreasing, purchased energy increasing
Most farms use several energy sources for heating. Wood-based fuels are the most common, while peat pellets are the most significant peat fuels. “The use of peat in heating has decreased,
“While the significance of purchased heat energy is on the up. This means that farmers purchase the energy they use from another service provider. In practice, a farmer purchases heat energy from a heat plant located close to their enterprise and pays for the energy generated. The raw materials used for purchased energy vary, but they may be wood- or peat-based, for example.”
Energy statistics for agriculture and horticulture being developed
In the final statistics to be published in early 2022, energy consumption figures will be more detailed, and information about consumption will also be available by region and production sector. The volume of energy generated by farms and information about energy sources will be published at the same time.
In addition, Luke’s statistics unit and Statistics Finland have teamed up in a three-year project aimed to specify the statistics of the consumption of energy in agriculture and horticulture and to develop an estimation method for years when no data is collected.
Data about the consumption of energy in agriculture and horticulture was collected in agricultural census 2020
Data about the consumption of energy in agriculture and horticulture was collected from nearly 13,000 farms during the 2020 agricultural census. The collection of data ended in April. Nearly 90 per cent of Finnish farmers responded to the survey. The agricultural survey forms the basis of five statistics. Preliminary results for the whole country will be published in 2021. They will be followed by the results of the use of workforce by agricultural and horticultural enterprises to be published in September. The final results will be published in early 2022. The final results will also be published by region and production sector.