RIGA, Feb 17 (LETA) - In 2016, the harvest of cereals in Latvia declined by 10.5 percent or 0.318 million tons from a year before to 2.703 million tons, which was still the second highest yield ever recorded in Latvia, the Central Statistics Bureau (CSB) reported.
At the same time, the total size land under cereals expanded by 6.5 percent or 43,600 hectares to 716,000 hectares last year, the largest area under cereals recorded since 1984.
CSB representatives noted that due to unfavorable meteorological conditions, the average yield per one hectare fell from 44.9 quintals in 2015 to 37.8 quintals in 2016.
The harvested production of grain was influenced by higher proportion of winter wheat in the total sown area of cereals as well as in the total harvest production of grain – increase from 43.2 percent in 2015 to 46.1 percent in 2016 and from 53.1 percent in 2015 to 58.6 percent in 2016, respectively. The average yield of winter wheat per one hectare comprised 48.0 quintals (55.3 quintals in 2015).
In 2016, the average yield in agricultural holdings the cereal cropland in which exceeded 300 hectares (45 percent of the total cereal cropland in the country) reached 45.0 quintals per hectare, harvesting 54 percent of the total national grain production.
The average yield of grain in agricultural holdings the sown areas of winter wheat in which exceeded 300 hectares (43 percent of the total winter wheat area) constituted 55.1 quintals per one hectare, producing half of the total harvested winter wheat. Out of the total harvested production of winter wheat, 45 percent were harvested in Zemgale, where the average yield thereof amounted to 55.5 quintals per 1 hectare.
The volume and price of grain purchases decreased last year, according to CSB data. In 2016, totally 2,351,000 tons of grain were purchased, which was 213,700 tons or 8.3 percent less than in 2015. A decline in grain prices in the world commodity exchange as well as the fact that the bulk of the purchased grain met only the fodder quality requirements led to the decline in average purchase price of grain by 7.8 percent, as compared to 2015.
In 2016, wheat constituted 83.7 percent of the total volume of grain purchased (80.5 percent in 2015), 47.4 percent of which met the food quality requirements (62.8 percent in 2015). The volume of purchased rye reduced by 64,800 tons or 53.7 percent, also the share thereof in the total volume of rye purchased fell from 75.6 percent in 2015 to 50.0 percent in 2016.
Compared to 2015, in 2016 the sown area of rape increased by 12,000 hectares or 13.6 percent, however, as the average rape yield diminished from 32.9 quintals in 2015 to 27.8 quintals in 2016, the total yield of rape seeds decreased by 11,000 tons or 3.9 percent.
The sown areas of pulses continue to grow. In 2016, the total area of pulses increased by 32.1 percent, of which the area of field beans rose by 5,400 hectares or 20.9 percent. The increase was encouraged by the introduction of a new support payment for climate- and environment-friendly farming practices or agricultural greening.
In 2016, plantation areas and harvested production of potatoes reduced by 6.1 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, while the average yield thereof per one hectare grew by 5.2 percent.
Last year, 196,600 tons of vegetables were grown, and it is 1,800 tons or 0.9 percent more than in 2015. The area and yield of open field vegetables rose by 0.6 percent, whereas the average yield thereof remained that same as in 2015 – 225 quintals per hectare. The volume of vegetables produced in greenhouses amounted to 13,600 tons – 5.4 percent more than in 2015.