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Finland sees smallest grain harvest in decades

Extreme weather again caused harvests to dwindle last year, says Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

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Fields of barley. Image: Birgitta Vuorela/Yle

Finland suffered a second poor harvest in a row last year, the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) confirmed on Thursday.

Last autumn marked a second poor grain harvest in a row, according to Anneli Partala, a senior actuary at Luke.

"Extreme shifts in weather conditions have affected the harvest size," she explained. "Summer and fall of 2017 were rainy and last year the weather was too dry."

Hanna Aho, a climate justice expert from Kepa, a development NGO, previously told Yle News that temperature swings in Finland were affecting domestic food production.

Finnish farms sold over half of the 2.7-billion-kilo grain harvest they produced last year. The majority of grain produced in Finland is used to feed livestock. Rye is the only grain exclusively used in food production.

Lack of fodder curbs livestock

Many farms are now trying to cope with having less animal feed, making efforts to conserve fodder and sourcing it anywhere they can.

"Figures show a drop in animal numbers — with some livestock production ending and some domestic animals being taken to slaughter," said Partala.

Last year, grain exports sank to the lowest level in decades, with a quarter of cereals sold by farms headed overseas.

Oat and barley were the most popular Finnish export cereals.

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