According to an estimate by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the grain harvest for 2018 will be 2.7 million tons. If this estimate proves correct, the harvest will be the lowest since the year of crop failures in 1987. The estimate has decreased further since the July harvest estimate. Some crops have already been harvested but, in addition to potato, some grains, oil plants and grass are still waiting for harvesting.
The hot summer with low precipitation reduced the volumes of all crops. Expert estimates of ProAgria also emphasise high variation in crops, even in field areas that are close to each other. In general, this year’s harvest was better in eastern and northern Finland, while the situation was the opposite last year. In addition, drought has reduced harvests in other Nordic countries.
Grain harvest smaller by one-fourth
“According to the estimate, the smallest barley harvest in 30 years pulls the entire grain harvest down with it. The barley harvest is one-fourth smaller than the ten-year average”, says Anneli Partala, senior statistician at Luke.
Barley makes up nearly half of Finland’s grain harvest, totalling 1.2 million tons, and plays a significant part considering the entire grain harvest. Outlook for other grains are also looking bleak. The wheat harvest will be the lowest in nearly 20 years, the oat harvest in eight years and the rye harvest in five years.
Will the low harvest volumes be sufficient?
In Finland, approximately three billion kilos of the total grain harvest is used annually as feed on farms, as food and feed in the industry and in other industrial products.
“It has been calculated that only the oat harvest will be sufficient for domestic use. However, the roughly 300,000 tons of oats exported in recent years cannot take place this year”, Partala says.
The sufficiency of other grains is determined, for example, by stocks from the previous year’s harvest. The low harvest volumes may also lead to more radical reductions on domestic animal farms, unless the lack of feed can be replaced by purchased feed.
Background to the statistics
Luke’s august harvest estimates are based on local estimates supplied by experts at ProAgria Rural Advisory Centres and reflect the situation on 27 August. The estimates for each municipality are based on visual observations and local knowledge. The areas under cultivation are obtained from the data systems of the administrative body of rural industries.
The next crop production statistics based on data obtained from farms will be issued on 22 November 2018. The crop production statistics will be expanded and specified to cover regional crop production data. In addition, preliminary data of the crop production statistics will estimate the grain harvest volume in accordance with Evira’s quality specifications. The final 2018 crop production statistics will be completed in early 2019.