Last year produced record crop harvests
2019 was a favourable year for crop farmers, resulting in record total production as well as production per hectare. According to Statistics Estonia, the total production of cereals was 1,625,000 tonnes. The total production of potatoes was 120,500 tonnes, which is the largest in the last six years. The production of open-field vegetables was 77,000 tonnes.
After several unfavourable years, cereal production in 2019 was 77% higher than in 2018 and 6% higher than in 2015, when the weather also suited farmers. The total production of cereals included 847,000 tonnes of wheat, 523,000 tonnes of barley and 119,000 tonnes of rye. Cereal yield per hectare was 4.5 tonnes, which is the highest figure so far.
The largest sown area of cereals in the past quarter of a century, i.e. 364,000 hectares, contributed to the record harvest. For the first time, winter crops accounted for almost a half of the sown area of cereals and more than a half of production, with a remarkable average yield per hectare of 5.3 tonnes. The yield of summer crops at 3.7 tonnes per hectare was significantly lower.
Cereal production hit records in more than half of the counties. The average yield varied from 3.2 tonnes in Ida-Viru county to 3.4 tonnes in Hiiu county to 5.3 tonnes in Jõgeva county. These were the highest recorded yields for both Hiiu and Jõgeva counties.
The total production of dry pulses and winter rape was also record high, respectively, 111,000 tonnes and 148,000 tonnes. The sown area of dry pulses was 43,000 hectares and, similarly to rape and turnip rape seed, it decreased in the last two years. However, the sown area of winter rape and winter turnip rape increased to 51,000 hectares, accounting for as much as 71% of the total area of rape and turnip rape seed. The yield per hectare of dry pulses and winter rape did not surpass the level of 2015 when it was 2.6 tonnes and 2.9 tonnes, respectively.
The year was favourable also for the production of potatoes and open-field vegetables. The sown area of potatoes, which had been in decline for a long time, grew to 5,300 hectares. The average yield per hectare hit a record of 22.6 tonnes. The previous record yield was in 2015, at 20.1 tonnes per hectare. The production of potatoes per person (total production in Estonia divided by the number of population) was 91 kilogrammes. The largest potato production was in Tartu, Viljandi, Võru and Harju counties. While the sown area of open-field vegetables decreased in the last two years, the yield per hectare of 24.8 tonnes was the highest in the last eight years.
The statistics are based on the Estonian Agricultural Registers and Information Board (ARIB) land use data and statistical questionnaire “Crop production”, the deadline of which was 1 November 2019. Statistics Estonia published the annual data in 56 working days. For the statistical activity “Crop production”, the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Rural Affairs, commissioned by whom Statistics Estonia collects and analyses the data necessary for conducting this statistical activity.