Grain harvest earlier than ever
24 July 2006, AMSTERDAM – "I’m sixty-three and I can’t remember that grain was ever harvested so early," said Aaike Maarsingh, chairman of Dutch agricultural organisation LTO, on Monday.
24 July 2006
AMSTERDAM – "I’m sixty-three and I can’t remember that grain was ever harvested so early," said Aaike Maarsingh, chairman of Dutch agricultural organisation LTO, on Monday.
Maarsingh said that combine harvesters had already started working in the fields.
"We began harvesting today," said Alko Tolner from his combine harvester, in a field near Buinen in the province of Drenthe. "We’re expecting the harvest to be smaller than usual, because of the long period of dryness and heat."
Tolner works on land owned by his brother-in-law Erik Huizing, who was on holiday just over the border in Germany. "If there’s a real emergency, I can be back within an hour," said Huizing.
His crop this year consists of 50 hectares of summer barley and wheat, as well as winter wheat.
The traditional image of the farmer as a sweaty man in a dirty overall who drives a noisy machine doesn’t apply any more, says Tolner. "I sit in a clean cabin with airco and a radio," he said. "Today’s going to be a long day, we’ll be working until eight or nine tonight."
Farmers are expecting a much smaller grain harvest this year. "It’ll be between 20 tot 30% smaller this year," predicted Maarsingh. "We can’t give a national figure, because one farmer might harvest 10% less this year, while others might harvest as much as 40 or even 50% less."
Dutch farmers will not profit from higher grain prices on the world market because the grain price is set by the European Commission. "The European consumer is better protected than farmers," said Maarsingh scornfully. "We won’t profit from the higher prices on the world market even though harvests are failing in all sorts of countries."
The LTO chairman said that he expected the grain price to rise further in the near future. "Harvests are half their normal size in the US and the Ukraine this year. And Poland has brought in 25% less than its usual harvest,” said Maarsingh. “And besides this, demand is also increasing because grain is used for production of bio-fuels.”
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news