Thanks to the warm and dry spells of August that followed the otherwise rainy summer, it is still possible to achieve a reasonable grain harvest of about 3.5 billion kilos. This would make the grain harvest 16% smaller than last year. Other crops, such as rapeseed, turnip rape, peas and broad beans, are expected to yield a greater harvest than last year.
The grain harvest estimate of about 3.5 billion kilos is the smallest in five years. This year, the area sown with grain decreased by about five per cent compared to last year. However, it is mainly the small yield per hectare that reduces the total grain harvest, not the smaller area that was sown. Particularly in the case of barley, the expected per-hectare yield (3,100 kg/hectare) is smaller than usual. Harvesting of grain is expected to begin in earnest over the next few weeks, if rain does not cause any delays. The coming weeks will determine the accuracy of the current harvest estimates.
Rye harvest to reach a 15-year peak
If the harvest estimate is met, the rye harvest will amount to about 107 million kilos. This volume would cover domestic consumption, leading to the drying up of rye imports.
– This year’s grain harvest estimate is indeed very close to the normal domestic consumption, i.e. around 3.2 billion kilos. With respect to wheat, barley and oats, the exports of this year’s grain harvest may be considerably smaller than in recent years. Not only the quantity, but also the quality and production-related issues have an impact on the foreign trade of grain, says Anneli Partala, Researcher, Natural Resources Institute of Finland (Luke).
Record-level areas under peas and broad beans guarantee record-level harvests
Many people spending their summer holiday in the countryside noticed that the cultivation of pulses has increased. The area sown with peas or broad beans has doubled compared to last year. The rains of the early summer were beneficial to broad beans, if beans were sown before the rains began. The total harvest of broad beans and peas may exceed last year’s figures by 60 and 90 per cent, respectively.
Positive prospects for the harvests of silage and hay
For herbaceous plants, the rains have mainly been beneficial due to a lack of dry spells that could affect their growth. However, if rains delay the harvest of forage, its quality may be compromised.
At the moment, the harvest prospects of potatoes and sugar beet remain very uncertain, because they grow and develop later than other arable crops. Currently, the expected harvest of potatoes and sugar beet is considerably smaller than last year: almost 10 per cent and more than 40 per cent smaller, respectively. Their harvest season will begin more than one month from now.
Background to the statistics
The harvest estimate of Luke’s preliminary crop production statistics is based on local estimates supplied by experts at ProAgria Rural Advisory Centres and reflects the situation as on 24 August. The estimates for each municipality are based on visual observations and local knowledge. The areas under cultivation are obtained from the data system of the administrative body of rural industries on 25 August 2015.
More precise harvest data will be reported on 26 November, when the harvest data supplied by farms will become available for the calculation of harvest volumes.