Plant production

In agriculture, in general and in plant production, in particular one of the major sectors is production of cereals. Providing the country with a sufficient amount of cereals contributes to strengthening of its independence.  Production of cereals is particularly import for animal husbandry as neither branch of animal husbandry can exist without cereals. Particularly important production of cereals is for pig breeding and poultry farming. The year 2013 was the second distinguished year after 2012 for cereal producers. In 2013, the total yield of cereals reached 1948.7 thsd. t that is by 175.8 thsd. t less than in 2012. 32.6% of areas are under cereals, the yield was at least 4 t per ha. As usual, the highest yields were obtained from winter cereals in Zemgale region. Zemgale region is characteristic for considerably higher yields than other regions, as a result, almost ~ 40% of the total yield of cereals in Latvia is being produced in Zemgale region. After Zemgele, the next major producer of cereals is Kurzeme region. Lately, cereals are used not only for animal husbandry and food production but also in production of alternative energy, including heat production.

Areas under cereals, total yields and productiveness in Latvia (2011-2013)
Source: Central Statistical Bureau

In 2013, oilseed rape sown area increased (9.1%) however, as compared with a successful 2012, an average productiveness of oilseed rape has dropped. Thanks to enlargement of sown areas, the total yield has stayed on the level of the previous year. Basically, cereal production farms are engaged in growing of oilseed rapes because soil cultivation technologies, cereal sowing and harvesting machinery is similar to that needed for oilseed rape. However, there is a certain risk, as crop rotation on these farms goes between two crops – oilseed rape and wheat, and oilseed rape is being sown on one and the same field every second year or every 2-3 years, at best. This can lead to a situation that in a long run, oilseed rape can be affected by clubroot, resulting in a sharp reduction in yields. It is forecasted that next summer, spring oilseed rape areas could reduce considerably due to the Commission’s decision to ban the use of some pesticides and treating oilseed rape with mordant.  


Fruit production plays a significant role in the sector of agriculture.  In 2003, after three years of disruption, fruit production sector is showing increase in areas planted with fruit trees and berries. As compared with 2012, the area of plum trees (by 10%) and cherry trees (by 9%) have increased as well as buckthorn plantings are increasing. Increased area of sea buckthorn shows a growing demand for processed sea buckthorn products. Thanks to favorable wintering condition of 2012/2013 and relatively late spring, when vegetation recommenced, the average productiveness of fruit trees and berries increased by 56% thus the total yield also increased by 54%. Regarding the total yield, apples are in leading position – in 2013, the total yield of apples amounted to 86.2% of the total yield of all fruits and berries.

Areas planted with fruit trees and berries in 2011-2013, ha

 

2011

2012

2013

Total fruit trees and berries

6837

6513

6675

Apples

4273

4073

3944

Pears

233

281

273

Plums

111

182

217

Cherries

144

150

164

Red and black currants

973

794

861

Raspberries

333

213

249

Gooseberries

7

8

11

Chokeberries

10

22

36

Sea buckthorn

245

275

325

Japanese quince

80

115

102

Souce: Central Statistical Bureau
The entire territory of Latvia is suitable for growing of vegetables but specialization of farms in horticulture is determined by location of markets, mainly closeness to towns and cities. Horticulture farms are mainly situated in Riga neighborhood and Zemgale region. In 2013, Latvia’s vegetable area, as compared with 2012, increased by 5%. Field areas increased by 5% but covered areas reduced by 15%. Although, covered area has reduced, but the total yield of vegetables in covered area increased by 7% in 2013 as compared with 2012. It is due to introduction of new technologies in production of vegetables in covered areas resulting in higher vegetable yields. 98% of covered areas are under tomatoes and cucumbers, leaving only 2% to the rest of covered area species.
Open field and covered areas in 2011-2013, ha

 

2011.

2012.

2013

Open field area, ha

8149

8085

8474

cabbage

2387

2536

2240

incl.cauliflower

141

340

150

leek

62

119

46

lettuce

24

9

22

spring onion

76

185

166

cucumbers

196

241

166

tomatoes

14

18

41

betes

932

1191

1042

carrots

1641

1421

1544

onion

1259

1260

928

garlic

53

74

177

horse raddish

174

24

16

summer squash and pumpkin

232

208

357

other vegetables

413

405

316

Covered area, ha

71,1

77,3

65,6

including:

 

 

 

glass greenhouses

47,2

36,7

35,4

polythene greenhouses

23,9

40,5

30,2

Source: Central Statistical Bureau

In the last decade the area of potato plantings have been reducing every year in in 2013 as compared with 2003 the area under potatoes reduced twice precisely. If in 2003, the area of potato plantings was 54.5 thsd.ha then in 2013 it is 27.3 thsd.ha. One of the reasons is unforeseeable potato market in terms of prices, as a it is difficult for farmers to plan the amount of production. Moreover, potatoes is an energy consuming crop, requiring a considerable input in terms of labor and fuel. A bottle-neck of potato production is shortage of modern storage facilities with cooling equipment. Modernization of special machinery used in potato production is proceeding very slowly, as new machinery is very expensive, more often used machinery is purchased abroad. Potato growing has one more negative trait, it yields a considerable amount of non-standard produce, which practically has no market.

Areas under potatoes, total yield and productiveness in Latvia 2011–2013

Source: Central Statistical Bureau