In short the strawberry season begins. In the next few days, hermann bayer will open its strawberry stands. Soon the healthy fruits can be picked also in the fields. Hermann bayer hopes for a good strawberry season. During a press conference a few days ago, we were able to take a look behind the scenes. It became clear that the cultivation of strawberries not only requires expertise, but is also associated with a number of bureaucracies, which have increased this year due to the corona crisis.
An important point is the watering of the strawberries. The increasing drought has become a problem. All of nature and especially the strawberries are thirsty for water. Hermann bayer is glad and grateful that he has a permit from the water protection authority. Because of this, he is allowed to use the necessary water to irrigate his plants from the natural flowing waters, which are located near his strawberry fields.
At the beginning of 2019, the water law permit was requested from the district office. This means that, as far as the local district is concerned, it can draw water from the hablach between the district town and pressig, provided that all regulations are complied with. Bayer went on to explain that water withdrawal is regularly checked by the authorities. The demand is determined. It depends on the perimeter of the flat and the soil conditions of the fields. In addition, the water level must not fall below a certain level. The use of measuring devices proves how much water is demanded from the creeks. As soon as a certain level is reached, it must stop its water withdrawal.
Hermann bayer explained that the watering of strawberries is done in a water-saving way, using the drip irrigation method. A drip hose is inserted into the ground when the strawberries are planted. This means that no water can evaporate on the surface, because it comes directly to the roots of the plants. Strawberries are sensitive to water shortages. Bayer hopes for more precipitation than in previous years despite water rights permit.
Even now, the many spring frosts have posed a huge challenge. Three times all fields had to be completely covered with coarse fleece sheets, so that the bleeds do not freeze to death and also shortly thereafter uncovered again, because it quickly becomes too hot under the fleece in sunshine and the heat damages the strawberry plants just as much.
Seasonal workers arrive by plane
Furthermore, this year the corona pandemic is a challenge. His colleague anne witsch explained what this means for the farm. Of the nearly 200 dormitories, only half are occupied, she said. All seasonal crops have to enter by plane and have already had a health check in romania, as well as on arrival in germany at the airport.
The data of all persons who entered the country by airplane were transmitted to the federal police. On arrival in bernsroth, the foreign employees are divided into small groups for the first 14 days. The same people always stay together. Purchases are handled by the bayer company, so that there is as little contact as possible with other employees. Because of the distance regulations, more buses are used to transport the employees. Only after two weeks are these conditions allowed to be relaxed.
Everywhere in the dormitories, sanitary rooms, in offices, at the sales booths, etc. Is disinfectant available. The hygiene concepts are written in german, polish and romanian language and are placed at different places in bernsroth, at the sales stands and at the strawberry fields. Disinfectant is also available there. In addition, all sales stands have a plexiglass protection and a minimum distance of two meters must be observed. It was very difficult to work out these protection measures. Many discussions had to be held with various authorities. The entire company bayer is grateful to the health department. "It is about the protection of the employees and the customers. Health is our top priority!" According to bayer.
Hoping for the rain
Hermann bayer hopes for more precipitation than in previous years despite water rights approval. He also hopes that the strawberry harvest will be successful and that customers will once again be satisfied with bayer’s strawberries. "The protection and health of employees and customers is important to us, as are satisfied customers who enjoy bayer’s delicious strawberries, so hermann bayer.
And as far as watering is concerned, the district office has stated that water withdrawal from water bodies requires a water law permit in principle. Herrmann bayer has received the permit. As bernd graf from the press department explained, no further applications from farmers for water withdrawals from the hablach have been received by the authority so far. As a matter of principle, water withdrawals are only permitted up to the mean low water discharge level.