Grain quality and safety

The Finnish Food Authority publishes open study data on the quality of grain on its analytics portal

The Finnish Food Authority’s new analytics portal contains open research data on the quality of grain. The newest data is available, updated automatically every night from the laboratory information system. The results of grain quality monitoring have been published on the internet for several years, but the new service presents data more quickly and more visually. Diagrams are available to illustrate the variation from year to year.

The analytics portal contains data on the quality and yield estimates for different qualities of grain. You can view the results for individual years or see the averages for several years.

You can view data by means of maps: at a glance, you can see the grain quality data for the entire area of Finland. You can personally choose the year, grain type and variety whose results you want to examine.

To the analytics portal (in Finnish)
 

News related to grain quality

High protein content in wheat

The average protein content of spring wheat is high at 15.3 per cent. The last time the average protein content of spring wheat exceeded 15 per cent was in 1992.

Approximately 80 per cent of the spring wheat samples studied so far have a hectolitre mass of at least 78 kilograms, a falling number of 180 seconds and a protein content of 12.5 per cent. If the quality target below was not met, the sample’s hectolitre mass is below 78 kilograms. The average hectolitre mass of the spring wheat samples studied was 80.1 kilograms, the falling number was 344 seconds and the deoxynivalenol (DON) mycotoxin concentration, measured using the rapid method, is below the limit value set in EU legislation for wheat intended for human consumption.

The median yield estimate reported by farmers for wheat is only 3,000 kilograms per hectare, compared with 4,500 kilograms per hectare in the previous year.

The average falling number of rye is high at 235 seconds, but the hectolitre mass of 75.8 kilograms is lower than in the three preceding years.

Low amounts of mycotoxins in oats

The dry growing season reduced the quality of oats, as the average hectolitre mass of oats – 52.4 kilograms – is approximately four kilograms below the average for the preceding five years. There are also more small grains than in recent years. The median yield estimate for oat is only 3,000 kilograms per hectare for the studied samples, compared with 4,000 kilograms per hectare in the previous year. The average protein content of oats is 13.8 per cent, more than two per cent higher than last year.

There is markedly less DON mycotoxin than in the two preceding years. Measured using the rapid method, four per cent of the samples studied so far exceed the DON limit value of 1,750 µg/kg, which is the limit value set in EU legislation for oat intended for human consumption.

Low starch content in barley

Approximately 60 per cent of the barley samples studied have a hectolitre mass of at least 64 kilograms. The average protein content of animal feed barley was 12.2 per cent, which is above the five-year average. The average starch content is correspondingly lower, at 60.4 per cent.

Background to the study

How did the quality of grain change as a consequence of the hot, dry summer? How about wet, cold summers? And where in Finland was the impact greatest? The Finnish Food Authority publishes study data produced by its laboratory on the analytics portal, and the data is open to everybody.

The quality of grain is of particular interest to farmers and companies that use grain, along with the food and animal feed industry. The quality of the harvest has a major impact on farmers’ finances and whether the grain can be used for animal feed or for human consumption. The material is utilised to monitor the quality and safety of grain, as well as for data searches, EU reporting and other studies.

The grain quality results are based on the Finnish Food Authority’s grain harvest quality and safety monitoring, which has taken place since 1966. The material consists of samples sent by farms, background information on the samples and the Finnish Food Authority’s analysis results. The results represent farm-level data on practical cultivated land.

The grain samples represent the grain sold on grain markets to the food and animal feed industries, as well as grain sold in transactions between farms or grain retained by farms for their own use. 

The farms included in the monitoring were selected using a sampling method from the Natural Resources Institute Finland’s register of agricultural and horticultural enterprises (approximately 50,000 farms). In 2018, approximately 1,500 farms were subject to quality monitoring in relation to the grain harvest. Samples were received up until the end of October.

The grain quality results for 2018 are being updated constantly as analysis of the samples is still underway. The final results will be published in February 2019.

No results will be visible for individual farmers, as the published data consists of mean and median averages.

Contact person

  • Elina Sieviläinen, Head of Section, tel. +358 40 848 6094, elina.sievilainen@ruokavirasto.fi