2019 was a record year in Latvian agriculture

Provisional data released by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that Latvian farmers enjoyed one their most productive years ever, with records being broken for several crops.

2019 saw harvested production of grain at a record 3.2 million tonnes, which is 1.1 million t or 1.5 times more than the year before. The average grain yield per one hectare reached 42.6 ql., which is the second highest grain yield in the history of Latvia (44.9 ql. were harvested in 2015). Exports of grain reached a record amount as well – 2.8 million t or EUR 518 million.

"Last year, a record high harvested production of grain was reached, which is a very important upturn after the long-term dryness in 2018 that led to harvested production amounting to 2.1 million tonnes and average yield of 29.8 ql. The high harvested production was facilitated by both high yield and wider areas of cereals – cereal cropland covered 742.3 thousand ha, which is 51.4 thousand ha or 7.5 % more than a year ago and the widest cereal area in the history of Latvian agriculture," said the CSB.

Grain production 2019

Harvested production of grain was influenced by the increase in share of winter cereal areas in the total cereal cropland – from 35.4 % in 2018 to 58.8 % in 2019 (50.4 % in 2015). In 2019, harvested production of winter cereals reached 2.2 million t (the highest indicator in the history of Latvia), and the average yield constituted 50.7 ql./ha.

In 2019, the highest harvested production of winter wheat was harvested – 2.0 million t or 62.0 % of the total harvested production of cereals; the average yield thereof reached 51.8 ql./ha, which is the second highest yield of winter wheat (55.3 ql./ha in 2015). Out of the harvested production of winter wheat, 781.8 thousand t or 39.8 % were harvested in Zemgale region.

Main exports to Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Turkey

In 2019, the greatest volume of cereal products was exported to Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Turkey. Out of all cereal products exported, wheat and meslin took 82 % (2.3 million t or EUR 417 million). More statistics for imports and exports of cereals is available in the interactive foreign trade statistics tool available on the CSB website eksports.csb.gov.lv.

In 2019, totally 2.4 million t of grain were purchased – 699.2 thousand t or 40.1 % more than a year ago, however the average purchase price of grain declined – from 168.34 EUR/t in 2018 to 155.97 EUR/t in 2019 or by 7.3 %.

In 2019, wheat accounted for 81.4 % of the grain purchased (80.9 % in 2018); 85.5 % of the volume purchased met food quality requirements (84.0 % in 2018). The share of food rye in the total volume of purchased rye grew from 70.0 % in 2018 to 82.9 % in 2019.

In 2019, rape areas occupied 140.1 thousand ha, which is 16.5 thousand ha or 13.4 % more than the year before and the widest rape area recorded in the history of Latvian agriculture. A significant upturn in the harvested production of rape seeds was facilitated by the rise in share of winter rape up to 83.1 %.

In 2019, areas of potato plantations rose slightly – only by 0.1 thousand ha or 0.7 %, while harvested production of potatoes grew by 17.6 %, reaching the average yield of 224 ql./ha (191 ql./ha in 2018).

2019 was favourable for open-field vegetables. Last year, 172.9 thousand t of vegetables were produced (including in greenhouses), and it is 33.8 thousand t or 24.3 % more than in 2018. The rise was affected by a significant increase in the average yield of vegetables from one open field hectare – from 155 ql./ha in 2018 to 192 ql./ha in 2019. During the period, 11.2 thousand t of vegetables were produced in greenhouses, which is 0.3 thousand t less than a year ago.

Updated figures will be published on 31 March in the CSB database section Crop Production.

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