Latvia Leads the Norwegian Wheat Imports
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Wheat is the essential food grain cultivated in Norway. Its good baking properties make it the most important cereal species for baking. High protein content with gluten proteins makes dough rise and keeps it from collapsing during the baking process.
Wheat requires warmer weather than the other cereal species cultivated in Norway; therefore, it’s primarily grown in the southeastern part of the country. Winter Wheat also requires good overwintering conditions. Several factors challenge Wheat cropping in Norway. Severe winters limit winter Wheat production and a short vegetation period causes moderate yields
Two types of Wheat are grown in Norway, spring Wheat and winter Wheat. Spring Wheat is currently dominating Wheat production in the country. All Wheat grown in Norway for human consumption comes from spring Wheat. Wheat is divided into five classes according to quality, where class 5 is the lowest and 1 is the highest quality. The spring Wheat varieties are divided into classes 1, 2, and 3, while winter Wheat is put into classes 4 and 5. In 2020, Graminor supplied 60% of the spring Wheat varieties sown in Norway.
Wheat for human consumption is priced after quality. The minimum quality requirements are a hectolitre weight of 79, a protein content of 11,5%, and a falling number over 200 to be classified as suitable for human food production. Wheat that doesn’t meet these quality requirements is used in animal feed.
Norway’s agriculture sector has a small-scale structure compared to agriculture in other countries in Western Europe. Small and medium-sized family farms dominate, with an average farm size of 20 hectares. The small-scale structure of Norwegian agriculture is mainly due to the country’s topography.
Until the 1970s, almost all Wheat for human consumption in Norway was imported. In the mid-1970s, efforts were started to provide Norwegian agriculture with Wheat varieties adapted to the Norwegian climate through variety development and other initiatives. Since then, the Norwegian production of Wheat for human consumption has increased from 0% self-sufficiency to around 75% in good years. In 2019, this self-sufficiency ratio was 42%. The country’s population is now 5.4 million.
Norway’s Wheat Output
According to the USDA, in MY 2021/22, Norway’s Wheat production was 420,000 tons, with domestic consumption of 770,000 tons. For MY 2022/23, Wheat production and local consumption are forecasted at 420,000 tons and 795,000 tons, respectively.
The Norwegian grain area is about 285,000 ha, distributed between 12,900 farms. The three counties, Akershus, Østfold, and Hedmark, located in southeast Norway, account for approximately 60% of the grain area. Vestfold, Buskerud, and Oppland cover 22%, while Trøndelag has about 16% of the cereal area. Together these counties include 95 % of the Norwegian cereal area. The main cereals grown are spring varieties of barley (47%), Wheat (26%), and oats (22%). The area of winter cereals (primarily Wheat and rye) varies, reflecting the autumn sowing conditions, which differ from year to year (SSB). Winter rye and triticale are grown in a limited area. The cereals are typically grown in the flattest areas, and mono-cereal production systems dominate.
According to AgFlow data, Latvia led the Norwegian Wheat import market with 33,274 tons in 2022, followed by France (29,500 tons), Lithuania (6,540 tons), and Finland (4,021 tons). In 2020, Norway imported Wheat $68.1 million, becoming the 87th largest Wheat importer in the world. In the same year, Wheat was Norway’s 245th most imported product. Norway imports Wheat primarily from: Germany ($22.1 million), Poland ($16.3 million), Sweden ($15.5 million), Russia ($4.56 million), and Denmark ($2.7 million).
Other sources: GRAMINOR
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