In 2019, the utilized agricultural area in Finland amounted to 2,273,000 hectares. There have not been any significant changes in the total cultivated area in recent decades, even though the number of farms has decreased to 46,800.
Cereals for food and feed
The 2019 cereal harvest of four million tons was produced in an area of roughly one million hectares. Of this area, barley accounted for 43, oats for 30, wheat for 20 and rye for four per cent. The percentage of barley, oats and wheat is high because our nearly self-sufficient milk and meat production needs cereals for feed.
In 2019, the Finnish food industry processed approximately 440,000 tons of cereals. Of this volume, wheat accounted for 51, oats for 28 and rye for 19 per cent. We are generally self-sufficient in these cereals intended for human consumption. Finland also exports certain cereals. Processed and unprocessed Finnish oats are especially desirable for human consumption in other countries, as well.
“Rye has had the lowest self-sufficiency rate of all cereals for the past decades, while last year’s harvest promises full self-sufficiency. In 2019, the area sown with rye was the largest in 18 years, and the good harvest level produced the highest yield in nearly 30 years”, says Anneli Partala, senior statistician at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).
Grasslands cover nearly half of the field area
Finland’s grasslands are mostly harvested for silage feed to provide cattle with feed during winter, while some of the area is used as summer pasture land for cattle. Some grasslands are also used as regular and environmental fallows. In addition to the feed cereal area, the feed grass area of more than 700,000 hectares forms the basis of Finnish domestic animal production.
Potatoes, peas, fava beans, caraway and sugar beet as specialties
Even though the area sown with several special crops is relatively small, they are significant production crops – each in their own way. The area sown with potatoes (roughly 22,000 hectares) is sufficient to cover domestic consumption during a normal year. The sugar beet area (11,000 hectares) covers one third of total sugar consumption. The areas of peas (14,000 hectares) and faba beans (18,000 hectares) have potential for growth, if we use them to replace imported proteins, such as soy, in the next few years. In just over a decade, the caraway area has increased from practically nothing to 24,000 hectares, after import markets were discovered for caraway harvests.
The area of horticultural crops is small but highly productive
The area of horticultural crops is roughly 20,000 hectares, accounting for only one per cent of our total field area. Horticultural production consists of a broad range of vegetable, berry and greenhouse production. Although we are not fully self-sufficient in all horticultural crops, yields of domestic products were high last year.
Background to the statistics
Luke’s statistical data about the agricultural area has been finalised regarding 2019. Data about crop-specific areas and the number of farms by municipality and Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY) in 2013–2019 is now available from the stat.luke.fi statistical database. The database also includes statistics of annual cultivation areas in Finland since 1920. Preliminary cultivation area data for 2020 will be available in June.