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Tuesday 19.03.2019 | Name days: Jāzeps

Lasting drought caused the lowest yield of cereals in recent years in Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUIn 2018 harvested production of grain constituted 2.1 million tonnes, which is 635.2 thousand tonnes or 23.6 % less than a year ago and the smallest harvested production recorded over the past five years.

The average cereal yield from one hectare constituted only 29.8 quintals (38.3 ql./ha in 2017) being the lowest yield registered over the past seven years. Last year, 690.9 thousand hectares of land were covered with cereals, which is 12.7 thousand hectares or 1.8 % fewer than a year before, according to data from the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia.

The harvested production of cereals was significantly influenced by drought and notable decline in the sown areas of winter cereals – of 131.0 thousand hectares or 34.9 % (of which drop of 116.1 thousand hectares or 35.0 % in winter wheat areas) – resulting from the problems when sowing winter cereals due to the incessant rain of the autumn 2017. The share of winter cereals in the harvested production of grain fell from 69.6 % in 2017 to 48.7 % in 2018.

Nevertheless, compared to the year before, areas of spring cereals increased by 118.4 thousand hectares or 36.1 %, due to the draught the average yield thereof from one hectare was the lowest one recorded since 2010, reaching only 23.7 quintals in 2018 (24.9 ql./ha in 2017).

The average yield of grain in large agricultural holdings the cereal cropland in which exceeds 300 hectares (59 % of the national grain area) exceeded national yield of cereals only by 3 % and reached 30.8 quintals from hectare (in 2017 the indicator exceeded national average by 32 % and constituted 50.5 ql./ha). In 2018, the areas produced 61 % of all harvested production of grain.

In 2018, totally 1.7 million tonnes of grain were purchased – 634.8 thousand tonnes or 26.7 % less than a year ago. Compared to 2017, purchase price of grain grew by 16 %, reaching EUR 168.34 per tonne in 2018 and being the highest purchase price recorded since 2014.

In 2018, wheat accounted for 80.9 % of the grain purchased (86.1 % in 2017), and 84.0 % of the volume purchased met food quality requirements (67.3 % in 2017). The share of food rye in the total volume of purchased rye fell from 72.8 % in 2017 to 70.0 % in 2018.

In 2018, compared to the year before, the sown areas of rape increased by 6.2 thousand hectares or 5.3 %. The average yield from one hectare dropped from 27.8 quintals in 2017 to 18.6 quintals in 2018, and the total rape seed yield fell by 96.6 thousand tonnes or 29.6 %. In 2018, sowing of winter rape, just like sowing of winter cereals, was hindered by incessant autumn rain contributing to the reduction of winter rape areas by 15.9 thousand hectares or 17.6 %. The average yield of winter rape reduced as well – by 11.4 quintals from hectare or 36.4 %.

Compared to 2017, in 2018 potato plantation areas fell by 0.4 thousand hectares or 1.7 %, while harvested production of potatoes rose by 4.6 %, as the average yield from one hectare increased by 11 quintals, reaching 191 quintals in 2018.

The long-running drought had negative influence on production of vegetables. Last year, 139.1 thousand tonnes of vegetables were produced (including vegetables in greenhouses), which is 18.0 thousand tonnes or 11.5 % less than in 2017. Nevertheless areas of open field vegetables grew by 0.2 thousand hectares, the harvested production thereof dropped by 18.0 thousand tonnes or 12.4 %. The average yield of open field vegetables decreased from 182 quintals from hectare in 2017 to 154 quintals from hectare in 2018. Just like in 2017, in greenhouses 11.5 thousand tonnes of vegetables were produced.

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