The dry July lowered the outlook for the cereal harvest down to a normal level. The potato harvest suffered from unusually cold nights in July. The outlook for the autumn harvest looks promising for winter cereals, that is, rye and wheat. The rye harvest is expected to be the largest in nearly 30 years.
“The estimated cereal harvest of 3.5 million tons corresponds with the average of the past five years. The cereal harvest will increase approximately one quarter from 2018 when the harvest level was the lowest in the 2000s”, says Anneli Partala, senior statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
The dry July reduced the estimated oat harvest from the previous estimate prepared in the middle of July. There is expected to be significant variation in harvests, even between nearby fields. July was also coloured by unusually cold nights that damaged the potato harvest.
Record-high rye harvest
Even though the cultivation area of rye is the smallest of Finland’s four main cereals, its harvest plays a significant part in Finnish kitchens. The expected rye harvest of nearly 160,000 tons is enough to cover 18 months of domestic consumption. The last time the rye harvest was higher than this was in 1990. Rye accounts for approximately 5% of the total cereal harvest.
Of all cereals, barley has the largest cultivation area in Finland. The barley area has only been lower than this year twice during the past 40 years. The estimated barley harvest of nearly 1.5 million tons still accounts for over 40% of the total cereal harvest. The oat harvest is expected to be at an average level, at roughly one billion kilos.
Low turnip rape and rapeseed harvest
The turnip rape and rapeseed harvest is expected to be the lowest in 40 years. The harvest of roughly 40,000 tons is less than one quarter of the record harvest in 2006. The cultivation area of turnip rape and rapeseed is the lowest since 1979, and the yield per hectare is low.
Lowest potato harvest in four years
Potatoes have not yet been harvested, apart from early potatoes. The potato area has remained unchanged. However, cold nights in July damaged this autumn’s harvest. Their impact on yields will be identified during harvesting in September. The potato harvest is expected to be the third lowest during the past 30 years, approximately 550,000 tons.
High silage feed harvest in early summer
The warm early summer accelerated the growth of grass crops before Midsummer, and the quality of the first silage feed harvest, and that of the dry hay harvest, was high. Grass growth stopped during the dry July, and the second harvest was low. Parts of grass crops will be harvested for the third time during autumn, and the harvest level is expected to be high in rainy areas.
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 26 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 Finnish Food Authority’s administrative body of rural industries.
The next crop production statistics based on data obtained from farms will be issued on 22 November 2019. The crop production statistics will be expanded and specified to cover regional crop production data. In addition, preliminary data of the crop production statistics estimates the cereal harvest volume in accordance with the Finnish Food Authority’s quality specifications. The final 2019 crop production statistics will be completed in early 2020.