b'Growing crops in the northernmost country in EuropeHOW THE FINNISH SEED SECTOR IS SURVIVING EXTREME CONDITIONS. BY: MARI RAININKOFINLAND Most of the cereal and grass crop is used as WHY IT MATTERS Finland is located between the 60th and 70thfodder for milk and meat production (cattle, pigs Growing a crop inparallels of latitude, making it the northernmostand poultry). Cereals are also produced for food a growing seasoncountry with viable agriculture in Europe. Fromprocessing, i.e. bread cereals, malting barley and of 180 days cansouth to north Finland is more than 1,000 km long,oats for food use, and organic cereal crops are cul-be hard. Breedingwhich means the conditions vary a great deal intivated on approximately five per cent of the cereal new varieties inthe different parts of the country, which can pres- crop cultivation area.such a climateent challenges and opportunities for the FinnishImportant minor crops include oilseed crops provides even morefarm sector. (turnip rape, oilseed rape), potatoes, vegetables, challenges. Find outFinland is characterised by cold winters withcaraway, flax, buckwheat, sugar beet and protein how the Finnish seeda lot of snow and short summers with daylightcrops such as faba bean and pea.sector caters to thisin abundance. In southern Finland, the growingThe production of cereal crops is sufficient difficult environment. season is only 180 days long, which is around twoto cover domestic consumption and some grain is months shorter than in Central Europe. The aver- also exported. Finland is one of the worlds largest age effective temperature sum is 1450C in south- producers and exporters of oats. ern Finland and 880C in the north. The annual precipitation is 550650 mm. GROWING CONDITIONSOf the surface area, 70% is covered by forestSpring field work and sowings in Finland gener-and 10% is lakes. About 8% of the total surfaceally begin in May, with harvest generally begin-area is agricultural land. ning at the start of August and continuing until The vast majority of farms are owned by fam- September. Growing conditions are beneficial to ilies, most of them engaged in both farming andproduction, because the cold winter reduces the farm forestry. An average Finnish farm has 47 hanumber of plant diseases and pests. But due to arable land. the climatic conditions, the crops need to be dried after harvest, practically without exception.AGRICULTURE IN FINLAND In Finland, special attention is paid to pre-Agricultural production is practised on about 2.3venting common wild oats (Avena fatua). The Mari Raininko is Secretarymillion hectares, and the main crops are cerealsfarms where wild oats have been found are listed General of the FSTA and grasses. The yield level varies a great deal inin a special register as the prevention of wild oat is the different parts of the country. Most of the cere- of particular importance because of the high per-als are spring sown, with barley, oats and wheat ascentage of spring sown cereals. the most important spring sown species. Rye andClimate change poses new challenges to also wheat are cultivated as winter cereals.Finnish agriculture. Due to climate change, the The grass area is about 0.7 million hectares,temperatures in Finland will rise, variation in pre-of which over 2/3 is under silage, the rest is drycipitation will increase, the snow cover season will hay, pasture or under other production. The mainbecome shorter, and the amount of soil frost will grasses are timothy and meadow fescue. The mostdecrease. Measures to adapt to climate change are important forage is red clover. changing the prioritisation of species and varieties, 20IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'