According to an estimate by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), the grain harvest for 2018 will be 2.8 million tons. If this estimate proves correct, the harvest will be the lowest during this millennium so far. The harvest will be a third smaller than the highest grain harvest in the 21st century, which was in 2009. The rye harvest will probably drop by half and the wheat harvest by a third from last year. This is the third consecutive poor harvest year in Finland. If the exceptionally dry and hot weather continues, even less grain than estimated could be harvested in the autumn.
“If the estimate is correct, the grain harvest will be as low as in 1998 and 1999, when the harvest was first reduced by continuous rain and then by a dry and hot summer,” says senior statistician Anneli Partala from Luke’s Statistical Services.
The current growing season did not have a promising start, as the heat wave and drought in early summer afflicted the harvest growth.
“In some places, the plants were able to revive from this ordeal during the subsequent cool and rainy period, but the new heat wave can cause lignification, which would further reduce the expected harvest,” explains Research Professor Pirjo Peltonen-Sainio from Luke.
Rye harvest cut by half, wheat by one-third
The rye harvest will be cut by half from last year to the lowest level in the past five years. The rye harvest of some 50,000 tons will only cover around half of the consumption in Finland. The wheat harvest will be cut by one-third from last year to the lowest level in the past fifteen years. The main reason for the poor rye harvest is the fact that the cultivation area was reduced by the unfavourable weather during seeding last autumn. In the case of the other grains, the main reason is drought.
Barley and oats cut by one-tenth
The barley harvest will probably be the poorest in thirty years, one-eighth lower than last year. Among all the grains, the oats harvest will be reduced the least, by a little over one-tenth. The oats harvest will be the lowest in eight years. This will be the second year over the course of the last three decades when the oats harvest remains below 900 million kilograms.
Rape harvest has been on the rise in the past few years, but will now show a decrease
The rape harvest will be one-fourth lower than last year. Cultivation of rape has become more common in the past few years, and the harvest per hectare has been higher than that of turnip rape. This year will be an exception: the rape harvest will remain lower than usual and the sown area has decreased.
Background to the statistics
Luke’s July harvest estimates are based on local estimates supplied by experts at ProAgria Rural Advisory Centres and reflect the situation on 16 July. 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 statistics, reflecting the situation on 27 August, will be published on 31 August 2018. The crop production statistics will be expanded and further specified on 22 November, at which time Luke will publish regional harvest information based on information obtained directly from farms.
A harvest estimate table is available on the crop production statistics homepage.