High yields of feed grains in 2013


<p>The 2013 harvest yielded a large volume of high-quality Finnish feed grain. The quality of the harvest was weakened by shriveled oat grains and mycotoxins (DON), as well as low hectolitre weights for feed grains in some parts of the country. Per-hectare yields were lower for organic grains, and their quality was in some ways lower than that of regular grains.&nbsp;</p>

The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira and the Information Centre of the Ministry of Forestry and Agriculture, Tike, collated the statistics on the 2013 Finnish grain harvest.

The majority of oats met minimum quality standards

92 per cent of the total oat harvest (1.2 billion kilos) met the minimum quality standard for hectolitre weight (52 kilos). Almost one third of the harvest was of a good standard, that is, had a hectolitre weight of at least 58 kilos. The average hectolitre weight for the 2013 oat harvest was 56.1 kilos, which represents a fall on the previous year.

There were great regional variations in the quality of oats. The oat harvest in Ostrobothnia and Southwest Finland had a higher than average hectolitre weight. The lightest oats were harvested in Uusimaa, Northern Karelia and Southern Savonia, where about 10 per cent of the harvest did not reach the target weight (58 kilos).

There were a lot of atrophied grains in 2013 (an average of 7.3 per cent), which also weakened the quality of the oat harvest.

There was no great difference in the hectolitre weights of organic and regular oats. However, organic per-hectare yields were lower than those of regular oats, and there was more debris.

Regional variations in mycotoxins (DON)

The quality of the oat harvest was weakened by deoxynivalenol (DON), which is produced by Fusarium mould in unfavourable growing conditions. A fifth of all samples exceeded the maximum concentration (1.75 mg/kg) acceptable for consumption. There were great regional variations in DON concentrations. The highest numbers of samples that exceeded the limit for consumption were obtained in Northern and Southern Savonia, Northern Ostrobothnia, and Central Finland.

Another good harvest of feed barley

Almost 80 per cent of the total feed barley harvest (1.5 billion kilos) met the minimum standard for hectolitre weight (64 kilos). The quality of the feed barley harvest varied from region to region. The highest quality feed barley was harvested in Southwest Finland, which had the highest average hectolitre weight (68.6 kilos) and where almost all of the samples met the hectolitre weight target (at least 64 kilos). The lowest hectolitre weights were recorded in Northern Savonia, Central Finland, Southern Savonia, and Northern Karelia.

Although organic barley had a lighter hectolitre weight, 40 per cent of the harvest still achieved the hectolitre weight target (64 kilos).

Almost 70 per cent of the total malting barley harvest (404 million kilos) met the targets for grain size and protein content (9–11.5 per cent). Evira's quality monitoring does not cover the germination of malting barley. There were only minor regional variations in the quality of malting barley between the main production areas of Uusimaa, Southwest Finland and Häme.

Low protein a problem for spring wheat

Almost 60 per cent of the total spring wheat harvest (827 million kilos) had a protein content of at least 12.5 per cent, a falling number of 180, and a hectolitre weight of 78 kilos (which Evira used as a benchmark for wheat quality).

The protein content of spring wheat was too low in almost a third of all samples. Falling numbers remained high, thanks to an early harvest and good threshing conditions. The highest yields were achieved in Southwest Finland and Uusimaa, although only half of their harvests met quality standards.

Organic wheat harvests had a low average per-hectare yield and only a third of the harvest met quality standards.

The rye harvest resulted in the smallest yield in over ten years.

Although the cultivation area and yield of autumn grains was small, the harvest was of high quality. 80 per cent of the total autumn wheat harvest (42 million kilos) met the minimum target. 73 per cent of the total rye harvest (26 million kilos) had a falling number of 120 and a hectolitre weight of at least 71 kilos. For organic rye, this figure was only 39 per cent.

Background to the harvest and quality statistics

The data on the quality of the grain harvest have been compiled using both Tike's statistics and data obtained from Evira's grain quality monitoring for 2013. Tike's harvest survey covered about 6,000 farms. Evira analysed grain samples from about 500 of these farms as part of its quality monitoring. The information on organic grains has been complied in a similar manner, by combining harvest data from 1,000 farms and grain samples analyses from about 80 farms.

Table:  Grain quality 2013 (pdf, 193 kB)

Read more:
Grain quality 2013

Additional information:

Data on grain crops
Tike, Statistical Services
Anneli Partala, Researcher, t. +358 (0)295 313 145
Sirpa Karppinen, Actuary, t. +358 (0)295 313 140

Data on grain quality
Evira, Plant Analysis Unit
Elina Sieviläinen, Senior Researcher, t. +358 (0)40 848 6094
Anne Mäittälä, Researcher, t. +358 (0)40 740 1300
Mirja Kartio, Head of Unit, t. +358 (0)40 534 5510

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