716.0 thousand hectares of land were covered with cereals in 2016 – 43.6 thousand hectares or 6.5 % more than in 2015, leading to the largest cereal cropland area observed since 1984.
Due to unfavourable meteorological conditions, the average yield per one hectare fell from 44.9 quintals in 2015 to 37.8 quintals in 2016. Regardless the fact that the second highest yield in the history of Latvia and significantly wider sown areas were reached, in 2016 the total harvested production of grain constituted 2.7 million tons, which is 0.3 million tons or 10.5 % less than in 2015, when the record production –3 million tons – was harvested, according to provisional data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.
The harvested production of grain was influenced by higher proportion of winter wheat in the total sown area of cereals as well as in the total harvest production of grain – increase from 43.2 % in 2015 to 46.1 % in 2016 and from 53.1 % in 2015 to 58.6 % in 2016, respectively. The average yield of winter wheat per one hectare comprised 48.0 quintals (55.3 quintals in 2015).
In 2016, the average yield in agricultural holdings the cereal cropland in which exceeded 300 hectares (45 % of the total cereal cropland in the country) reached 45.0 quintals per hectare, harvesting 54 % of the total national grain production.
The average yield of grain in agricultural holdings the sown areas of winter wheat in which exceeded 300 hectares (43 % of the total winter wheat area) constituted 55.1 quintals per one hectare, producing half of the total harvested winter wheat. Out of the total harvested production of winter wheat, 45 % were harvested in Zemgale, where the average yield thereof amounted to 55.5 quintals per 1 ha.
In 2016, totally 2351.1 thousand tons of grain were purchased – 213.7 thousand tons or 8.3 % less than in 2015. Decline in the grain prices in the world commodity exchange as well as the fact that the bulk of the purchased grain met only the fodder quality requirements led to the decline in average purchase price of grain by 7.8 %, as compared to 2015.In 2016, wheat constituted 83.7 % of the total volume of grain purchased (80.5 % in 2015), 47.4 % of which met the food quality requirements (62.8 % in 2015). The volume of purchased rye reduced by 64.8 thousand tons or 53.7 %, also the share thereof in the total volume of rye purchased fell from 75.6 % in 2015 to 50.0 % in 2016.
Compared to 2015, in 2016 the sown area of rape increased by 12.1 thousand hectares or 13.6 %, however, as the average rape yield diminished from 32.9 quintals in 2015 to 27.8 quintals in 2016, the total yield of rape seeds decreased by 11.4 thousand tons or 3.9 %.
The sown areas of pulses continue to grow. In 2016, the total area of pulses increased by 32.1 %, of which the area of field beans rose by 5.4 thousand hectares or 20.9 %. The increase was encouraged by the introduction of a new support payment for climate- and environment-friendly farming practices or agricultural greening.
In 2016, plantation areas and harvested production of potatoes reduced by 6.1 % and 1.2 %, respectively, while the average yield thereof per one hectare grew by 5.2 %.
Last year, 196.6 thousand tons of vegetables were grown, and it is 1.8 thousand tons or 0.9 % more than in 2015. The area and yield of open field vegetables rose by 0.6 %, whereas the average yield thereof remained that same as in 2015 – 225 quintals per hectare. The volume of vegetables produced in greenhouses amounted to 13.6 thousand tons – 5.4 % more than in 2015.