Egg production fell by almost 30 percent last year and at 30 million was the lowest it has ever been, preliminary data released by Statistics Estonia show. However, the cereal harvest in 2019 reached record levels.
In 2019, in total, 145.3 million eggs were produced, which is 29 percent less than in 2018. Production has decreased since the first quarter (January, February and March) of 2018 and reached an all-time low of 30 million eggs in the 4th quarter (October, November and December) of 2019. The number of poultry decreased 5 percent year on year, totalling 2 million at the end of 2019.
The data also showed in 2019, milk production increased by 3 percent and meat production by 5 percent. Compared to 2018, the number of dairy cows, sheep and poultry decreased, while the number of pigs increased.
At the end of 2019, there were 254,000 cattle, including 85,000 dairy cows. Compared to the same time a year ago, there was 0.8 percent more cattle, whereas the number of dairy cows fell by 0.2 percent.
The decrease in dairy cows is a continuing trend, but the annual average milk yield per cow has increased. In 2019, the average milk yield per cow was 9,633 kilogrammes, i.e. 346 kilogrammes more than in 2018. The total milk production was 821,500 tonnes, which is an increase of 3 percent compared to the previous year.
There were 306,300 pigs in Estonia, which is the highest number in the last five years. Sheep and goats totalled 74,400 and their number has decreased in the last five years. In 2019, compared to 2018, there were 5 percent less sheep and goats, while compared to 2015, the decrease was 18 percent.
The production of meat increased by 5 percent year on year. 77,800 tonnes (carcass weight) of livestock and poultry were sold for slaughter (including export) and slaughtered in holdings. The production of beef decreased by 6 percent and mutton and goat meat by 13 percent. The production of pork increased by 8 percent and poultry meat by 5 percent.
Last year produced record crop harvests
Last year there was a record number of crops produced and an increase in the amount grown per hectare. After several unfavourable years, cereal production in 2019 was 77 percent higher than in 2018 and 6 percent higher than in 2015, when the weather also suited farmers.
Data released by Statistics Estonia show the total production of cereals was 1,625,000 tonnes. This included 847,000 tonnes of wheat, 523,000 tonnes of barley and 119,000 tonnes of rye. Cereal yield per hectare was 4.5 tonnes, which is the highest figure so far.
The largest sown area of cereals in the past quarter of a century, i.e. 364,000 hectares, contributed to the record harvest. For the first time, winter crops accounted for almost a half of the sown area of cereals and more than a half of production, with a remarkable average yield per hectare of 5.3 tonnes. The yield of summer crops at 3.7 tonnes per hectare was significantly lower.
Cereal production hit records in more than half of the country's counties. The average yield varied from 3.2 tonnes in Ida-Viru County to 3.4 tonnes in Hiiu County to 5.3 tonnes in Jõgeva County. These were the highest recorded yields for both Hiiu and Jõgeva counties.
The total production of dry pulses and winter rapeseed was also a record high, respectively, with 111,000 tonnes and 148,000 tonnes.
The total production of potatoes was 120,500 tonnes, the largest in the last six years. The production of open-field vegetables was 77,000 tonnes.
The sown area of potatoes, which had been in decline for a long time, grew to 5,300 hectares. The average yield per hectare hit a record of 22.6 tonnes. The previous record yield was in 2015, at 20.1 tonnes per hectare.
The production of potatoes per person (total production in Estonia divided by the number of population) was 91 kilogrammes. The largest potato production was in Tartu, Viljandi, Võru and Harju counties. While the sown area of open-field vegetables decreased in the last two years, the yield per hectare of 24.8 tonnes was the highest in the last eight years.
Editor: Helen Wright