The President of the German Farmers' Association, Joachim Rukwied, expects harvest losses due to the ongoing drought in Germany. In an interview with the ZDF morning magazine today, he said that a below-average harvest is expected, which will be slightly lower than last year.
Rukwied hopes that it will rain and that at least the autumn crops will still have the water they need. But the situation is very different. "There are regions where decent yields could be brought in. On the other hand, we also have regions where we were unfortunately only able to harvest 25 to 30 percent below the average of previous years."
In its first harvest report for the current year, the German Farmers' Association DBV assumed that the drought damage would be concentrated on wheat in many regions. The corn is also suffering from the high temperatures. The animal owners are also currently very concerned about the food supply.
The farmers' president also criticized the fact that the so-called set-aside areas should not be released for wheat cultivation for the time being. Arable land is referred to as such on which no agricultural products are produced. At the digital conference of federal and state agriculture ministers yesterday, there was no agreement as to whether Germany would suspend the obligation to set aside four percent of arable land next year.
In response to the threat of food shortages, the EU Commission had proposed making exceptions to the planned set-aside of four percent of arable land for one year. According to the EU proposal, the cultivation of the same crops one after the other – for example wheat on wheat – should also be possible for one year.
According to Rukwied, the conference of agriculture ministers "knowingly exacerbated the food crisis". Farmers in Germany could produce an additional 1.4 million tons of wheat on 200,000 hectares of set-aside land. They wanted to do that and were frustrated that the Agriculture Ministers' Conference had not taken up the offer.
Good honey harvest in spring
In contrast to the poor prospects for this year's wheat harvest, German beekeepers have already harvested more honey this spring than in rainy 2021 thanks to favorable weather conditions. That was at least 5.8 kilos more than last year. In 2020, too, the value of 3.8 kilos was significantly lower than this spring.
The reason for the good harvest this year is the weather. "It was sunny and dry, but at the same time the soil still had a basic moisture content," said the head of the specialist center, Christoph Otten. "As a result, the plants grew well and the bees were able to collect a lot of nectar." The harvest, which is called "Tracht", is divided into early and summer costumes. The latter is about to be completed, figures on this are not yet available.
Moderate summer costume to be expected
Bee expert Otten emphasizes that the comparison to the previous year is difficult because 2021 was very rainy and the harvest was very bad as a result. "The longer it rains, the less the bees fly." If you look back a few years, the current early forage value is "good and above average, but it wasn't a record harvest". The bee expert is also satisfied with the quality so far this year.
With a view to the current summer costume, the expert says that the drought could have a negative impact in some regions. The nectar production of the plants is inhibited, which leads to less yield. "Due to the low rainfall, we expect a rather moderate summer costume in parts of Germany."