According to preliminary data in the register of agricultural and horticultural enterprises, there were 44,700 agricultural and horticultural enterprises in Finland in 2021. The decrease in the number of agricultural and horticultural enterprises continued like in previous years, showing a decrease of 900 farms from 2020.
The recent years have been difficult for agriculture, and the need for up-to-date information about the state of agriculture has highlighted the significance of fresh data. This is why the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) already now publishes preliminary data about the number of farms, production lines and land use.
The use of farmland unchanged, the number of leased field increasing
Agricultural and horticultural enterprises used 2.3 million hectares of fields, of which leased fields accounted for 850,000 hectares. The size of leased fields increased by nearly 77,000 hectares. In ten years, the average farm area has grown from 41 to 51 hectares. The average area was more than 60 hectares in the regions of Southwest Finland, Northern Ostrobothnia and Uusimaa ELY Centres.
“Until now, farmland has found its users, and fields of discontinued farms have either been leased or sold to other farms. It is a completely different matter what will happen to fields in the future. Currently, some 45 per cent of agricultural land in use are used in grass crop production or as fallows. If livestock production decreases significantly, part of the grass crop area will also be released for other uses. What they will be used for in the future and how large a part will become environmental management areas remains to be seen,” says Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen, senior statistician at Luke.
More and more farms are incorporated
Even though the majority (38,000) of Finnish agricultural and horticultural farms are family-run, the number of limited liability companies has increased. This year, limited liability farms (a little more than 1,200 farms) accounted for almost three per cent of all farms. Instead, the number of farming syndicates fell below 4,000.
Background to the statistics, and changes in the compilation of the statistics
Data about the number of farms in the register of agricultural and horticultural enterprises is largely based on the Finnish Food Authority’s animal registers and data collected in conjunction with subsidy applications. The number of horses on farms is no longer included in the 2021 statistics, which can be seen as a significant decrease in the number of other cattle farms by 1,200 farms compared with 2020.
“This year, the number of poultry farms was based on Luke’s statistical survey, covering farms with 50 or more birds, and this method will also be used in the future. The new data collection method enables the statistics to be published earlier. Previously, the data was based on data collected in conjunction with subsidy applications. The exclusion of horses from the statistics can be seen more clearly in the number of farms than the change in poultry statistics. Small farms of less than 50 birds have rarely been classified as poultry farms. Another significant improvement to the statistics is that data is now based on the average number of birds on farms, not on a certain day’s situation,” say Luke’s senior statisticians Sanna Vuorisalo (animal production statistics) and Anna-Kaisa Jaakkonen (structure of agricultural and horticultural enterprises).
For more information and tables related to the statistics, please visit https://stat.luke.fi/en . Data about the age of farmers will be updated during the publication of the final statistics (https://stat.luke.fi/en/releasecalendar).