For field crops, the 2019 harvest year marked a positive return to normal – after all, it was preceded by two weak harvest years in succession. The total cereal harvest of four million tons includes an abundant rye harvest of more than 180,000 tons – something many who enjoy Finnish rye bread will certainly appreciate. This is more than sufficient to cover annual consumption in Finland, being the largest rye harvest in 30 years.
“A rye harvest of 100,000 tons is sufficient to cover domestic annual consumption. This limit has only been reached four times in the 2000s,” says Anneli Partala, senior statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Four million tons of cereals – barley recorded the highest yields
Barley accounts for more than 40 per cent of the total cereal harvest. Of our four main cereals, barley is the least used in food production, if malting is not included. The significance of barley as our primary cereal is based on its position as the most important source of feed on farms.
The wheat harvest reached 900,000 tons, being the fourth highest ever recorded in statistics. As harvest levels doubled from 2018, wheat imports are expected to turn into exports.
The significance of oats on our dinner tables and as an export product has increased in recent years. Finland is one of the most important oat producers in the world, and the 2019 oat harvest of nearly 1.2 million tons, to be verified later in autumn, will be the second highest in the EU, right behind Poland.
Record-high pea and caraway harvests – the decline of turnip rape and rapeseed continues
“The harvest levels of peas for human consumption and feed peas were the highest in the 100-year history of the statistics, totalling 33,000 tons. Hopefully, this is the point where the production of domestic proteins starts to increase,” Partala says.
In addition to peas, the caraway harvest reached a new record. The production and statistical history of caraway is must shorter than that of peas – 14 years. Instead, the harvest levels of turnip rape and rapeseed were the lowest in 40 years.
Oats the most important organic cereal
Of the total cereal harvest, organic cereals accounted for less than four per cent, or around 140,000 tons, with oats covering more than half. The harvest level of organic oats reached a new record, similarly to organic rye, wheat and barley.
The overall quality of the cereal harvest is high. Domestic cereals have many uses in Finland, with plenty of high-quality cereals still remaining for exports. Oats, in particular, have good export markets. Last autumn, as much as 200,000 tons of oats were exported from Finland.
Background to the statistics
In autumn 2019, field crop production statistics were collected from approximately 6,200 farms, of which 670 were organic farms, via telephone interviews and an online service. The crop production statistics cover harvest information from approximately 47,000 farms, whereas the organic crop production statistics consist of information from roughly 4,000 organic farms. These statistics are final. Preliminary data was published on 22 November 2019. With regard to information about the cereal harvest quality, harvest information collected by Luke has been combined with quality monitoring information collected by the Finnish Food Authority.
All information is available in the stat.luke.fi service. The service includes crop production information about key crops in all parts of Finland starting from 1920. Regional crop production information is available in the service starting from 1999.