Sustained dryness leads to worries among farmers

An old farm,er's saying is: "May cool and wet, fills the famrer's barrel and tanker." It was cool last month. And although June as successor means well with its heat, overall the spring was too dry. The missing rain is causing worry-lines for farmers.

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"At the moment it is much too dry," says Franz Schulze Eilfing. The head of crop cultivation advicePflanzenbau-Beratung crop cultivation advicePflanzenbau-Beratung at AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG was on the road last week across the AGRAVIS area in order to get an impression of the situation himself.

The situation in Brandenburg and in Saxony Anhalt is particularly extreme, the region to the north of Hanover is affected, as in the Münsterland, Westphalia in general and the Soester Börde – despite the good soil. "The soils and plants are having to use reserves from the winter months," explains Schulze Eilfing. However, these are too small for supplying the plants ideally over the long term.

At present there is not enough water

Especially in the current growth phase, the plants constantly need sufficient water in order to be able to absorb and use the nutrients in the soil and in fertiliser. However, the reserves in the soil are limited, so that the first farms are already concerned about their yields and in some farming areas talk has already turned to premature maturation. "This means that the corns of the grain are not as large as usual and do not contain as many nutrients either." In eastern Germany, in particular, where statistically there is a rain deficit of more than 50 percent, a poor harvest is feared.

Especially locations with light soil are reporting the first dry damage in wheat, summer barely, rye and rapeseed, according to Schulze Eilfing. "At the moment, everyone in agriculture is waiting for rain. For beautiful, long-lasting rural rain." It if comes in the next few days, he still sees a chance of a good harvest. However, he is skeptical as to whether the forecast record quantity of more than 47 million tonnes of grain will be harvested from the fields by the end of the season, however, and whether the prices will remain stable despite the current situation: "The market is very volatile and we also have to keep an eye on the international harvest quantities."

Different irrigation processes

Some farms do not want to rely on a change in the weather and are therefore deciding to irritage their fields artificially. However, costs of around Euro 100 to 150 per hectare are needed for an irrigation cycle. And yet farmers, particularly with light and sandy soils, are turning to this option. "Whether and which irrigation process the farmer chooses for his farm, depends on various criteria," explains the expert.

Apart from crop cultivation advice, AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG offers modern irrigation equipment from various manufacturers. "The weather extremes are increasing and the cultures do not have the winter moisture, so irrigation equipment is being used more and more," says Bernd Tiede, AGRAVIS sales consultant for irrigation equipment. Demand has increased considerably in the last few years – but has also changed. Farmers are currently investing in low-energy and water-saving equipment.