Drought causes difficulty for farmers. Fodder is scarce and livestock find nothing to eat in the pastures – dire consequences
As beautiful as this summer is on the lounger and on the beach, it has serious consequences for farming. It must have been raining for weeks now on farmers and their animals, but it still doesn’t look the same. Many animals find hardly anything to eat on the pastures, and the upcoming corn harvest is a disaster. “We just plow the concrete here,” says local farmer Michael Seagers, describing his experience in the field.
Although the state reported good grain crop yields on Monday, the 3.93 million tons of grain (excluding grain maize) harvested in NRW is only a small part of the big picture. This sounds miserable from an agricultural point of view.
“Even though a few millimeters of rain fall every two or three weeks – of course that’s not enough,” says farmer Michael Seagers of Kalkar. Hardwood floors damage man and machine: “Here in Cliff County, we live off and with livestock and forage. We bought a sprinkler system for our farm three years ago. It’s like life insurance.”
Jens Bodden of Bioland Poultry Farm in Bodden in Goch can only confirm the concrete floor: “Our chickens live in mobile loose dwellings. But moving outlets are hardly on dry ground.” It is very difficult to put fence posts in the ground. An organic farmer doesn’t want to spray the dry “greens” of the chicken.
No corn grew at all for three weeks
Meanwhile, heavy clay soils, such as that of Uedem-Keppeln, are very dry. “Our soils are known to hold water well,” reveals Hans-Theo Hoffmann, who runs a family farm in Keplin.
“But here too, the fields are prone to drought and heat stress. Harvesting potatoes brings only half the crop, and corn and grasslands have not grown at all for three weeks.” Hoffman could also irrigate his fields, but the investment would be enormous. And who knows how long the farmers can continue to irrigate.”
“Where from? The neighbor owns nothing either.”
Like his colleagues, he now relies on buying additional feed for his dairy cows. This destroys the price of milk that is currently better. “But where do you buy? The neighbor also has nothing. Plots of grass have been missing since July.” Shepherds also groan under the burden of getting enough fodder for their animals. It resembles arid steppe grasslands. Many cattle are already installed prematurely because they must be fed.
Hardly any feed can be purchased from other countries. The global market is on the verge of collapse, not only because of the Ukraine war. Hoffman: “In China, 800,000 hectares have fallen victim to drought. There are hardly any opportunities for additional purchases.” There is still little chance of grain. At least in some corners of Cleveland. Seeger knows that “the corn yield will vary greatly from region to region.” “In some places the corn is already completely dead, in others it is doing reasonably well.”
In order to be able to store more starch, there must now be enough rain, which sugar beets are also waiting for. Their leaves are lying on the ground – they fell asleep, so to speak, from great thirst. “If it doesn’t rain for the next three weeks, it will also destroy pasture grasses, because high-quality German pasture grasses have very shallow roots,” says farmer Keppelner Hoffmann.
Sowing requires moisture – where does it come from?
In addition, according to region farmer Seegers, sowing winter grain and rapeseed, which takes four weeks, urgently need moisture to germinate. The only thing left for many is the anxious look at the sky and the hope that the weather forecast will soon turn rainy.
There will be showers and thunderstorms on Friday or Saturday at the earliest, says Hubert Reyers, a weather worker in Killeen. So far, he wrote on his website, we can expect “calm and warm midsummer weather from today through Thursday. The reason is still the high pressure zone, which guides dips with its rainy areas and cool air around us.”
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