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Farmers report bumper crop of peas, but cereal harvest slumps

Peas and broad beans are gaining popularity as domestically grown sources of protein for people and livestock.

Nyhtökauraa paistinpannulla.
Domestically produced vegan alternatives made from oats, peas and broad beans have become staples of Finnish grocery stores and kitchens. Image: Antti Kolppo / Yle

Farmers in Finland report a mostly poor harvest for grains this year, but one bright spot has been pea production. This year marks the biggest pea harvest in a century of record-keeping, the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) said on Tuesday.

The use of peas and broad beans as a domestic source of protein for livestock and directly as food is on the rise in Finland, thanks to products such as pulled oats.

This year’s oat harvest was also above average by about 10 percent. However, the other main cereal crops – barley, wheat and rye – all had weak harvests this year.

Still, the total exceeds the average annual domestic consumption, says Luke senior statistician Anneli Partala.

“The cereal harvest of nearly 3.3 million tons is sufficient to cover the annual domestic consumption of approximately 2.8 million tons. Although this volume is sufficient, it does not fully meet our demands for consumption. In addition, one third of our oat harvest, or roughly 300 million kilos, has mainly ended up on European dinner tables,” she said on Tuesday.

Rye slumps, organic oats on the rise

Some 66 million kilos of rye were brought in from the fields, corresponding to around eight months’ worth of domestic demand. Much of it goes to rye bread – voted as Finland’s national food in 2017.

Fortunately, some rye remains in silos from a bumper crop in 2019, reducing the need for imports.

Organic cultivation continues to expand in Finland, exceeding 10 percent of total field area a few years ago.

Organic oats in particular are in the ascendant, with this year’s harvest up by five percent from 2019. At some 80,000 tons, it accounts for seven percent of Finland’s total oat harvest, and has become a significant export item in recent years.

Luke collects harvest data from about 6,200 farms, 700 of them organic.

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