TALLINN – According to the preliminary data of Statistics Estonia for 2023, the total area of agricultural land in Estonia has remained almost unchanged this year, while the area of fallow land, meaning arable land that is out of use for one year, has increased 2.5-fold.
Compared with previous years, a bigger proportion of the land area sown with cereals and legumes is planned to be harvested "green" as forage plants.
The growing area of vegetables and strawberries, which has been in a downward trend for a long time, has decreased by a further 8 percent, Statistics Estonia said in a press release.
According to Ege Kirs, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia, the area of cereals planned to be harvested for grain, 351,200 hectares, is 3 percent smaller this year than in 2022. Wheat is down 5 percent on last year, barley 4 percent, oats 3 percent and buckwheat 24 percent. Of the 173,000 hectares under wheat, 85 percent is under winter wheat.
"Winter wheat is still popular, while the area under spring wheat is decreasing year by year," Kirs said.
For some cereals, areas have increased. The growing area of rye is 28 percent larger than last year, or 17,000 hectares, and the area under triticale is 27 percent larger, at 6,500 hectares. According to the preliminary data, the area of legumes planned to be harvested as pulses has also increased by 9 percent, to 53,300 hectares.
The area under technical crops has decreased by a total of 14 percent for all crops combined. The total area under rapeseed and turnip rape has decreased by 12 percent, with the area under spring rape down by as much as 31 percent. The area of arable land under perennial fodder crops has decreased by 8 percent, according to the preliminary data.
The area of land lying fallow has increased 2.5-fold to 28,200 hectares. While the area of cereals grown for grain has decreased, the area of cereals and legumes planned to be harvested "green" has increased exponentially -- 2.2-fold to 24,200 hectares. This can help partially make up for the reduction in other kinds of fodder, Statistics Estonia said. The area sown with green maize has increased by 18 percent to 19,000 hectares.
The area under field vegetables has been constantly decreasing since 2017. According to preliminary data for 2023, the area decreased further compared with 2022, and field vegetables are grown on 1,550 hectares this year. This is 6 percent less than last year. Strawberries are grown on 560 hectares, which is 15 percent less than the year before.