Excellent Year for Bread Grain


<p>Based on the quantity and quality of spring and winter wheat, 2011 was a very good growing season for bread grain. The milling-quality crops of spring and autumn wheat were the highest during the past decade. The protein content of feed grain, i.e. barley and oats, was high but their hectolitre weight remained low, especially in the case of barley. Only less than a third of malting barley fulfilled the criteria of protein content and kernel size, set by maltsters.</p>

This information appears in a summary based on Tike’s (Information Centre of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) final crops data and the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira’s grain quality analyses.

Wheat Crops Turned Out Well

Spring wheat was cultivated in a larger area, namely 214,000 hectares, than in the preceding years, which produced a crop of 801.4 million kilograms, given an average harvest of 3,700 kg per hectare. A record-high 79 per cent of the spring wheat crop met the criteria for bread grain, fulfilling the quality requirements set for protein content, hectolitre weight and falling number. Winter wheat yield was 173.4 million kg, whereof 71 per cent met the criteria for bread grain. This was the biggest wheat crop to meet the quality criteria for bread grain in a decade. The biggest crops of spring wheat were produced in the Provinces of Varsinais-Suomi and Uusimaa, where the percentages of bread grain quality were 78 per cent and 98 per cent, respectively.

Rye crop was better than during the past three years, namely 78.4 million kg whereof 83 per cent met the criteria set for bread quality grain. More than 90 per cent of the samples had a hectolitre weight in excess of 71 kg, but there was a lot of variation in the falling number which did not reach the level of the preceding year.

Good Protein Content but Poor Hectolitre Weight in Feed Barley

Barley crop amounted to 1,195.1 million kilograms. Its protein content was good, with an average of 12.7 per cent, the highest figure since 2003.

On the other hand, the hectolitre weight remained lower than in the previous years, at 61.4 kg, while the target was set at 64 kg or higher. Only 38 per cent of the crop met this weight. In the past ten years, feed barley has been lighter only in 2004.

Oats Crop Better Than Last Year

Oats were cultivated in a larger area than last year, and after the sag in 2010, the crop rose to 1,043.1 million kg. The protein content was high also in oats, an average of 13.5 per cent. The average weight of 55.2 kg per hectolitre is about the same as the average of the past ten years and rose after the sag in 2010.

90 per cent of the crop met the criteria of a minimum hectolitre weight of 52 kg for feed oats. 22 per cent of the crop met the criteria of a minimum hectolitre weight of 58 kg for milling quality oats. These percentages are only slightly below the average of the past ten years.

The Province of South Ostrobothnia has the largest cultivated area for oats, namely 43,600 hectares, and it also produced the best harvest as to quality and quantity. The requirements set for hectolitre weight were met in all the samples relating to feed oats, and in 59 per cent of the samples relating to milling quality oats.

Problems in the Quality of Malting Barley

Only approximately 74 million kg or less than a quarter of the total yield of nearly 320 million kg of malting barley fulfilled the requirements set for kernel size (85 per cent or more of the sample does not pass the 2.5 mm screen) and for protein content (a maximum of 11.5 per cent). The average protein content was 12.2 per cent and the screening result 77 per cent.

Background for Crops and Quality Data

This press release combines data from Tike’s crop production statistics and Evira’s grain quality survey for 2011. Approximately 6,000 farms provided the crop data requested by Tike, and of these 6,000 farms crop samples from 440 farms were analyzed in Evira’s grain quality survey. In the statistics, the sown crop areas are corrected, namely the completely destroyed areas reported by the farmers to the authorities as well as the areas harvested as fresh crops have been deducted from the figures.

Grain quality 2011 (pdf, 97 kB)

Further information:

Data on Grain Crops
Tike, Statistical Service
Researcher, Mr Lauri Juntti, , tel. +358 (0)20 77 21251
Researcher, Ms Mirva Kokkinen, , tel. +358 (0)20 77 21371
Statistics Manager, Ms Anneli Partala, , tel. +358 20 77 21376
E-mail: firstname.familyname@mmmtike.fi

Data on Grain Quality
Evira, Finnish Food Safety Authority, Plant Analysis Unit
Head of Unit, Ms Mirja Kartio, tel. +358 (0)40 534 5510
Senior researcher, Ms Elina Sieviläinen, tel. +358 (0)40 848 6094
Researcher, Ms Anne Mäittälä, tel. +358 (0)40 740 1300
E-mail: firstname.familyname@evira.fi

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