Agriculture and environment

People have worked the soil in Estonia for centuries, and this has affected our nature and land. Land is cultivated on about one fifth of Estonia's territory. Agriculture has enabled us to shape and maintain semi-natural habitats. Their diversity and survival depend on how well we are able to preserve them. However, agriculture can also adversely affect nature, by polluting soil, water or air, fragmenting habitats and destroying wildlife, both in inland water bodies and on land.

Statistics Estonia publishes information on 28 agri-environmental indicators set by the European Commission. These allow policy makers, researchers and the general public to analyse and assess the interactions between agriculture and the environment as well as development trends. 

The purpose of collecting agri-environmental indicators is to

  • describe the status of agriculture and the environment;
  • explain and monitor the links between agricultural practices and their impact on the environment;
  • provide background information on the diversity of agro-ecosystems;
  • assess to which extent the development of agriculture and rural life promote environmentally friendly farming and sustainable agriculture;
  • provide an overall assessment of the sustainability of agriculture.
Sales of pesticides 752 280 active substance kg
Pesticide use per hectare of cultivated land 1.1 kg
Basic area treated 1 232 255.3 ha
Amount of used glyphosate active substance in the processing of cereals 98 803.8 kg
Carbon dioxide emissions from agriculture 215.1 thousand tonnes
Methane emissions from agriculture 27 014.7 tonnes
Nitrogen balance in agricultural land 28.0 kg/ha
Phosphorus balance in agricultural land -6.2 kg/ha
Organic agricultural area 22.3 %
Sales of pesticides | 2011 - 2019
Use of pesticides in agricultural holdings | 2011 - 2015
Use of pesticides in agricultural holdings | 2002 - 2015

Milk production increased year-on-year

According to the preliminary data of Statistics Estonia, the production of milk amounted to 807,500 tonnes in 2018, which is 2% more than the year before. The number of dairy cows decreased by the end of the year, but the average milk yield per cow increased.
Read more 25. January 2019

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