The drought causes farmers hardship

The drought causes farmers hardship

Eckehard kiesewetter a blessing! The rainy start of the week may be a nuisance for schools, but for nature it is a blessing. Garden owners have been longing for rain. Especially the farmers. They hope for insistent precipitation, preferably for one week. The durres summer has turned the region into a steppe landscape. Well, there were isolated thunderstorms in some places of the district during the summer months, but in large parts of the district it remained with merciless dryness. For weeks, even months. "Even to the left and right of the mains there are differences", says klaus merkel, chairman of the habberge farmers’ association: "where rain falls, it can be a matter of a few meters."

The ebern area in particular has been hit by the drought. According to hans-dieter hofmann, crop consultant at the office for agriculture and food in schweinfurt "there is a lack of rain without end, already since april". The situation in agriculture is "very tense, especially for farmers who keep livestock," says schwarzmann. For some it is a matter of existence for a long time.

Farmers’ chairman merkel speaks of "immense crop failures". In extreme cases, you have achieved just one-third of the normal harvest quantity. According to several interlocutors, this started with the winter barley and continued into the summer. Not so much the wheat, but rapeseed was quite bad, reports the agricultural engineer from mariaburghausen. The silage corn has also been hit hard. The special thing is that this year the industry as a whole is affected, i.E. Grain farmers as well as those who depend on fodder and pastures for their animals. "After a normal first cut, nothing is growing this year," says klaus schneider, confirms dieter reisenweber, cattle farmer from untermerzbach. "I was just in the field, says werner grell, who farms in treinfeld on the side: "it’s dusty as hell. Really extreme!"

Klaus schneider runs a piglet farm in the bischofsheim district of zeil with around 200 sows and 1,000 rearing animals. He chooses the word "knew", because "the second and third cuts were nothing at all". Crafty farmers recognized the situation early and stocked up on fodder from their neighbors weeks ago.

But in many farms with livestock, the cultivated land is adapted to their own needs. For others there is not much to get. This is also shown by the farmers’ association’s attempt to set up a feed bourse. There are probably many farmers who have expressed a need, but very few who are able to give something away. Especially those who do not keep their livestock in the barn but on the pasture are affected. It is of little help to them that the authorities also released fallow or idle land for fodder production a few days ago. For even there you will find at best old, thirsty plants that are unsuitable for pruning or grazing.

Actually, the fodder stocks should be sufficient for a quarter, if possible half a year. Some farms, however, have already had to attack the winter fodder. They are already "spoiling what was supposed to be dinner", says klaus schneider. Pig breeders, like him do themselves there still relatively easily, because grain can be bought always in addition. "With a truck from lower bavaria, france or elsewhere", it’s done, says hans-dieter hofmann. Grain can be found all over the world. It’s just a question of money.

Corn and silage, however, which are used to feed cattle, are "hardly tradable products". Long-distance transport is out of the question, if only because of the cubic meters involved. "That’s not possible at all", says hoffmann.

There is still hope for returns from 2017, which was comparatively good. If you don’t have them and can’t stock up on food for the winter in time, you may have to reduce your livestock. There is already talk of livestock sales on a larger scale, especially in the north of germany. The "explodes there", says farmer reisenweber. And that will also for france’s farmers the prices down print.

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