Peat deliveries to contract customers will be secured despite the weak production season
Owing to adverse weather conditions, the peat production season of summer 2011 has been weaker than predicted. Our current estimate is that the amount of milled peat harvested in Finland during this season will be 14-15 million cubic metres, i.e. 70-75% of the target. Sod peat production has not succeeded much better; the harvest is estimated at about 80% of the target of more than one million cubic metres. The situation is worst for environmental peat. Only 60% of the target of 1.7 million cubic metres will be reached. Vapo will reduce the use of peat in its own production plants to secure contract deliveries to the critically dependent customers.
Summer 2011 has been warm and rainy. Central Finland, Central and South Ostrobothnia, and South Western Finland have not experienced the long periods of dry weather in the early summer that are critical for peat production in Finland. In these areas, the production volumes will probably remain at half of the target. During this season, there has been exceptional regional variation in the weather conditions in Finland. In North Ostrobothnia, South Eastern Finland and North Karelia, the target harvests will almost be reached.
In addition to Finland, Vapo has significant peat production in Sweden, Estonia and Latvia. In Sweden, the production volumes will probably reach about 85% of the target of 2.1 million cubic metres. In Estonia and Latvia, the situation will be the same as in Finland, i.e. 70% of the target of 2.5 million cubic metres.
“Even if the production volumes of this year will remain under the average harvests of the past few years, we believe that we will be able to meet the needs of the contract customers that use fuel peat”, says Esa Koivula, Business Area Director of Vapo Biofuels. “In order to ensure deliveries to the critically dependent customers, Vapo will reduce the use of peat in its own production plants, reduce old stocks, and prepare for longer transportation distances”, Esa Koivula continues and points out that the figures presented at the moment are estimates which can still be affected by the weather conditions in September.
The weather conditions that Finland has experienced this summer have shown the importance of the quality of production areas. In new production areas, peat can be harvested effectively even during short dry periods. In the old fields, where the peat layer is thinner, the production season starts later, and after each rainy day, production is interrupted for a longer time than in the new production sites. New production sites also yield relatively more environmental peat needed for growing media, stabilising medium for composts, animal litter and landscaping.
“At the moment, Vapo has about 45 000 hectares of peatlands under production. The annual drain is about 2 500 hectares, which need to be replaced by new production areas. In order to secure the availability of peat to meet the demands, the total production area should be increased by about 20% of the current 45 000 hectares”, Esa Koivula says.
Esa Koivula, Business Area Director, Vapo Biofuels, Tel. +358 20 790 5680
Ahti Martikainen, Communications and Public Affairs Director, Tel +358 20 790 5608