The crop production survey of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) reveals that, in autumn 2018, the area sown with winter wheat and rye will be historically small. The small area sown mainly results from the exceptionally difficult weather in the 2017 growth period.
The area sown with winter wheat fell to one quarter from last autumn. The area sown with winter rye turned to a decline after an increase of several years, as the sown area was the smallest in five years. The area is barely sufficient to cover the domestic demand of rye.
– As crops were ready for harvesting later than usual, the autumn sowing period was also shorter. What is more, the never-ending rain in the autumn made matters worse as the sowing weather was nearly impossible, says Anneli Partala, senior statistician at Luke.
The four-year increase in the sown area of winter rye stopped and the sown area fell down to approximately 21,600 hectares.
– The sown area is barely sufficient to cover the domestic demand of rye. The area sown with winter rye fell by one third from last autumn and is equal to that of potato and caraway this year, Partala says.
The sown area of winter wheat was last smaller than this autumn (10,200 hectares) thirty years ago during the year of crop failure in 1988.
Area sown with winter cereals accounts of clearly less than one tenth of the total area
– In other parts of Europe, cereals are mainly sown in autumn. However, this is possible in the Finnish weather conditions. Here, the area sown with winter cereals is clearly less than one tenth of the total sown area, also in a normal year. Next year, this proportion will be a few per cent, Partala says.
In addition, the sown area was also smaller than in previous years on organic fields. The sown area of winter rye of approximately 3,500 hectares is 13 per cent smaller than in the year before. However, the proportion of organic rye from all rye was higher than in previous years, i.e. approximately one sixth of the area sown with winter rye.
The estimated area sown to winter crops was asked from farms during Luke’s crop production survey, covering 6,200 farms. The sown area will be specified next June when sown areas entered by farms in the rural business register of the Agency for Rural Affairs. Being the statistical authority, Luke produces farm statistics that are publically available in Luke’s statistical database.