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Water abstraction in agriculture

Updated 3.1.2023

In Finland, farmland irrigation is at a relatively low level compared with many other countries. According to data of the Natural Resources Institute Finland the field and horticultural area available for irrigation was 71,200 hectares in 2020. It was about 3.1 per cent of the whole utilised agricultural area. The irrigated area was about 8,000 hectares in 2016. It is 0.3 per cent of the whole utilised agricultural area. The irrigated area totalled 12,610 hectares in 2010 and 9,470 hectares in 2013. In 2010, roughly 4.4 million m3 of water was used for irrigation.

According to the 2010 Farm Structure Survey, farmland irrigation was possible at 4,600 farms, representing 7% of all agricultural and horticultural enterprises in Finland. The proportion of irrigating farms was the highest in Åland Islands.

Half of the farms that have irrigation equipment irrigated their lands in 2010. Outdoor vegetables and potatoes were mainly irrigated. Of the area available for irrigation, 9.3% was irrigated due to drought in 2013 and 14.6% in 2016.

Farms mainly specialising in growing garden plants used irrigation to prevent frost damage over 3 per cent of their land area in 2010.

Vegetables and potatoes were mainly irrigated through sprinkler irrigation. Drip irrigation is applied significantly to strawberries and other berries and apple trees. In 2016 sprinkler irrigation was used on more than 80 per cent, drip irrigation on 18% and subirrigation on 13% of all irrigating farms.

Nearly all water used in irrigation is comprised of surface water. Irrigation mainly uses water from a pond located in the farm area or from another larger water system extending outside the farm.

Farmland management and irrigation 2020.

Use of irrigation in agriculture

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Description of the indicator

The indicator represents the use of water for irrigation in agriculture. The indicator aims to evaluate water consumption and the efficiency of use of water in agriculture.

The information required for the indicator is obtained from Luke's Farm Structure Survey.

This indicator is one of the CAP impact indicators.

The next Farm Structure Survey will be in 2023.