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So far, only rough estimates for the utilisation rates of wild berries in Finland have been available. One reason for this is that there has been a lack of empirical-knowledge-based studies concerning total yields of wild berries and their yield variations. This study had three aims: 1) total bilberry and cowberry yields of an average crop year were calibrated for different (abundant and poor) crop years using the inventory data on wild berries collected by the Finnish Forest Research Institute (1997–2008); 2) national utilisation rates of bilberries and cowberries were calculated for three different berry years 1997–1999; and 3) regional utilisation rates of these berry species were calculated for the year 1997. According to calculations, annual bilberry yields in Finland vary from 92 to 312 million kg. For cowberry, the range of variation in total berry yields is from 129 to 386 million kg. It was also found that approximately the same proportion of the total yield of bilberries (i.e. 5–6%) was collected between 1997 and 1999. Utilisation rates of cowberries were also quite constant varying from approximately 8% to nearly 10%. In 1997, bilberries and cowberries were utilised most intensively in the eastern parts of the country and in the Oulu-Kainuu region. The results of this present study describe the situation before the phenomenon of foreign pickers. It can be presumed that commercial wild berry picking by migrant collectors has so far affected both national and regional utilisation rates of wild berries.