The grain harvest of German farmers again underperformed this year. The 2018 drought summer is noticeably slowing, the farmers' association is complaining. However, there are major differences regionally.
The German Farmers Association estimates that the harvested grain this year amounts to 45 million tons – which corresponds to an under-average harvest balance.
Last year the harvest was already lower due to persistent drought. But even if one does not consider the year 2018 in the calculation, which is about six percent less compared to the average of the previous five harvest years, the Farmers Association wrote on its Facebook page.
"We feel climate change," said Association President Joachim Rukwied. "This is an increasing challenge."
Rape seed yields would have been "disappointed" this year, and fruit and vegetables 2019 had again been "a difficult year". For farms that keep animals, the low basic feed intake makes it more difficult. Only the harvest predicted Rukwied a "very good quality", although the amount would not reach the record number of 2018.
State aid for farmers who must exist
The harvest damage of 2018 was assessed by Federal Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner as an event of "national proportions". In Central and Eastern Germany and parts of the north in particular, there was little rain.
There are also significant regional differences this year, Rukwied said in the ARDMorning Magazine: "Exactly where it was very dry last year, we again have regions that have thirst 50 percent less than the average of the past years, where it now exists." The yields in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg were about average.
Farmers with a threatening financial position have so far received a total of 228 million euros in state aid – the largest amount was 69.7 million euros in Brandenburg. Payouts are possible until August 31.
"If it doesn't rain, everything won't help"
When asked how farmers switched to changing weather conditions, Rukwied said: "We cannot change the weather, but we can, for example, rely more on mulch and no-till methods in agriculture." Moreover, they could increasingly grow new varieties and diversify crop rotation. The Confederation and the EU Commission can help farmers financially, but that doesn't change the fundamental problem, Rukwied said: "If it doesn't rain, it won't help either, we work with the weather in the wild – and sometimes it's hard. "
In view of the harvest losses, the green party leader Anton Hofreiter called on the Minister of Agriculture Klöckner to present a comprehensive agricultural strategy. After the summer of drought in 2018, "the Ministry of Agriculture should have done everything possible to quickly present a plan for sustainable, climate-friendly agriculture," he told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung". Klöckner stood there "empty-handed", while many farmers faced a threatening situation for the second time in a row.