An overly warm winter: challenges for arable farmers

Winter was far too warm. This has effects on crop production and presents challenges to arable farmers. AGRAVIS crop production AGRAVIS crop production expert Stefan Hanebrink explains why.

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Why was winter so unusual?

Hanebrink: Such a warm December as we had in 2015 has not happened for over 100 years. Many places didn't receive any frost. With an average temperature of 6.5 degrees, it was five degrees warmer than the long term average, according to the German Meteorological Service.

What challenges arise as a result for farmers?

Hanebrink: In particular, the warm winter and the wetness meant that fungal diseases developed well in cereal stocks. For this reason farmers had to expect a severe infestation. Grass weeds and weeds have developed well through the course of the winter. This should be borne in mind during initial fertilising.

Also, how do we carry on through spring?

Hanebrink: The small number of frosty days that occurred at the meteorological beginning of spring were welcomed by many farmers. It made it possible to drive on fields and allowed them to carry out initial fertilisation and crop protection measures. In many places some may wish for more frosty days. Now we have to wait for spring to start in earnest so that we can expect growth. This will have a significant effect on further measures.