German harvest battered by drought, heatwave: farmers' association

18th August 2015, Comments 0 comments

This year's grain, fruit and vegetable harvests in Germany have been reduced by droughts in key areas and by the long summer heatwave, the national farmers' association DBV said Tuesday.

"The severe drought seen in large parts of Germany since May has left its mark on the grain harvest," DBV said in a statement.

Farmers were estimated to have harvested only 46.5 million tonnes of grain this year, a shortfall of 11 percent from last year's record 52 million tonnes, it said.

The heatwave and drought have also battered other crops, such as rapeseed, fruits and vegetables, the DBV continued.

Farmers were expecting to harvest 885,000 tonnes of apples, for example, a drop of 21 percent from last year.

And the asparagus harvest was down five percent on the year at 108,000 tonnes.

"The average volumes of harvests hide the dramatic problems faced by businesses in those regions that have been hardest hit by the drought," said the association's president Joachim Rukwied.

In the regional states of Bavaria, Hesse and the Rhineland-Palatinate, for example, and the eastern states, the wheat harvest was down by between 15 and 30 percent year-on-year, he said.

"The ongoing drought in August is also harming crops that are still growing such as corn and sugar beets, grazing land and forage crops. Here, irreparable damage has already been done," Rukwied said.

Farmers also complained of price pressures following the introduction at the start of the year of a national minimum wage which is pushing up their costs, the DBV said.

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© 2015 AFP

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