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Estonia’s agricultural output decreases in 2016

Farmers will be able to file for transitional support payments again this year.
Farmers will be able to file for transitional support payments again this year. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The value of Estonia’s agricultural output reached €767 million in 2016, which is 18 percent less than the result of the previous year. 

2016 was a difficult year for plant production, since yields dropped as a result of adverse weather conditions, which in turn resulted in lower value of output, Marko Gorban, the Ministry of Rural Affairs’ deputy secretary-general for agricultural and rural affairs policy, said in a press release.

“In livestock farming on the other hand, positive signs could be seen–the purchase price of livestock rose, and production is becoming more effective, which is demonstrated by the increase in the average milk output,” Gorban said.

A total of 781,000 tons of milk was produced in Estonia in 2016, which is slightly less than in 2015. The average purchase price of milk, €237 a ton, remained unchanged. The price of milk rose in the second half of the year and reached €323 a ton in December. “The increase in the purchase price of milk gives us hope that the low is over,” Gorban added.

The average milk output per cow rose by 391 kilograms over 2015 to an all-time high of 8,833 kilograms last year.

The value of Estonia’s crop output reached €309 million, accounting for 40 percent of the total value of agricultural output. The output of livestock farming amounted to a value of €356 million, making up 46 percent of the total, and grew by 6 percent.

Where in 2015 Estonia registered record crop yields, the average yield last year was lower, and an estimated 41 percent less was harvested despite the sown area being bigger than in 2015. A 12-percent drop in producer prices added to the lower result. The average yield of crops in 2016, 2,658 kilograms per hectare, is comparable with the 2011 yield of 2,598 kilograms.

10 percent less meat was produced last year, mainly as a result of a reduction in the output of Estonia’s pig farms. The average purchase price of pork was €1,509 a ton, 1 percent higher than in 2015.

Support for agriculture, the food industry, and rural development paid from the budgets of the European Union and Estonia in 2016 amounted to €251 million, €25 million more than in 2015.

The decision was made in 2016 to make a one-off adaptation support payment to milk and pork producers, as the former had suffered from an extremely low market price, and the latter from the swine flu and its negative effects on production. This support amounted to €16 million, to be paid out this year. The total size of the budgets across eight measures of direct support in 2016 was €114.5 million.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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