The year 2018 was the second consecutive poor harvest year in Finland. Last year, drought reduced the total yield, particularly in Southwest Finland and surrounding areas. In addition to cereals, the broad bean harvest was much smaller than normal. In 2017, heavy rainfall reduced the total yield.
“Last year’s cereal harvest totalled 2.7 million tons, being the smallest in the 2000s. The cereal harvest decreased by one-fifth from the year before. The dry growing season also scorched grasslands, while autumn rains saved the green fodder harvest in most cattle areas. The sudden and unexpected loss of the broad bean harvest resulted from the silver Y, which ate broad bean leaves in large areas”, says Anneli Partala, senior statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
The highest loss of harvest in Southwest Finland
In Southwest Finland, yields per hectare fell the most clearly behind of average yields – the green fodder harvest was half of the average and the cereal harvest was smaller than on average by one-third or one-fourth. Because one-fifth of all cereals is produced in the Southwest Finland region, the poor harvest levels reduce Finland’s total yield more than the harvest levels of other regions. Drought in Southwest Finland did not have any significant impact on Finland’s green fodder harvest, as only 3–4% of all silage feed is produced in the region.
The organic cereal harvest decreased by one-tenth
Of Finland’s cereal harvest, organic cereals account for 3%, or 86,000 tons, most of which consists of oats. In recent years, the Finnish milling industry has increased the use of conventionally and organically produced oats. Finnish oats and oat products are also hot-selling products in other countries.
Good caraway harvest, broad bean harvest failed
“Finland continues to be the world’s largest producer of caraway, and the caraway harvest increased almost by one-tenth. Perennial caraway did not suffer from the dry growing season as much as annual plants. The caraway area is already larger than the sugar beet area, and nearly as large as the potato and broad bean area”, Partala says.
The broad bean harvest decreased by one-fourth from the previous year, being the smallest during the nine-year statistical period.
Buckwheat included in statistics
Last summer, the buckwheat area exceeded 2,000 hectares, as a result of which buckwheat was included in official annual statistics. Finland’s buckwheat harvest totalled 1,700 tons. Approximately one-fourth of the total yield was organically produced.
Background to the statistics
In autumn 2018, field crop production statistics were collected from approximately 6,200 farms, of which 660 were organic farms, via telephone interviews and an online service. The crop production statistics cover harvest information from approximately 48,000 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 2018. 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/en service. The service includes harvest information about key crops in all parts of Finland starting from 1920. Regional harvest information is available in the service starting from 1999.