Cereals and protein crops remained unharvested as the winter arrived, particularly in Eastern and Northern Finland. In addition to unharvested crops, farmers suffered from a lower cereal quality. On the positive side, the rye harvest of 113 million kilos was large enough for self-sufficiency. However, this situation will not continue as the sown area with autumn rye was one-third smaller than in the previous autumn.
In 2017, the grain harvest of 3.4 billion kilos remained the second smallest in the 2000s. Large volumes remained unharvested during the exceptionally rainy autumn of 2017. It is estimated that cereals remained unharvested over an area of more than 80,000 hectares when the winter arrived.
– Last year, fields in Eastern and Northern Finland suffered from the worst crop failures in thirty years”, says Anneli Partala, senior statistician from the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Due to the rainy autumn, a higher cereal volume than usual, one-tenth of the total area, i.e. 120,000 hectares, were harvested green as feed for domestic animals.
The highest rye harvest in 2017 since 1990
The high production year of 2017 in terms of rye will not continue in 2018. The rye harvest of 113 million kilos is the highest since 1990. Last autumn’s harvest is sufficient to cover domestic consumption of approximately 100 million kilos until next autumn’s harvest. In the 2000s, the rye harvest has only covered annual domestic demand three times. Next autumn’s harvest will unlikely be large enough for self-sufficiency, as the sown area with autumn rye was one-third smaller than in the previous autumn.
Broad beans and peas also used as silage
For broad beans and peas, the 2017 crop production statistics also include, for the first time, the silage harvest in addition to the dry seed harvest. The cultivation of both protein crops has increased in recent years, and domestic animal farms use entire crops as silage, similarly to conventional green fodder.
Oats cover two-thirds of organic cereals
Oats made up roughly two-thirds of the organic harvest of 95 million kilos. The production of organic oats increased by one-fourth from 2016. In addition, the production of organic wheat and barley increased, whereas the organic rye harvest was one-fourth lower than in 2016. Of the total grain harvest, organic cereals accounted for roughly three per cent.
Background to the statistics
Field crop production statistics were collected in autumn 2017 from approximately 6,200 farms, of which 600 were organic farms, via telephone interviews and an online service. The statistical data represents the harvests of all 48,000 farms in Finland, and the data is also available by ELY Centre region at stat.luke.fi/en. The service includes harvest information about key crops in all parts of Finland starting from 1920. Regional harvest information is available from the service starting from 1999.
Information about the quality of the grain harvest has been compiled by combining the harvest information collected by Luke and Evira’s grain quality monitoring information.