In France, the harvest starts early this year because of the heat. According to the French Ministry of Agriculture, ripeness in all growing areas is more advanced than usual at the time. The harvest therefore begins earlier.
In Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France, the harvest began in some cases as early as the end of July, according to the ministry. Nationwide, the harvest starts ten days to three weeks earlier than usual, the newspaper "Le Parisien" also reported. "In more than 30 years, I have never started the harvest on August 9," southern French winemaker and industry representative Jérôme Despey told the newspaper. A colleague added that everyone was surprised at how quickly the grapes had ripened in the last few days.
Good yields expected
French winegrowers can count on good yields. Between 42.6 and 45.6 million hectoliters are expected. According to the French Ministry of Agriculture, the yields are therefore likely to be on average for the past five years.
Last year, a period of frost in the spring led to historically poor yields. A pest infestation caused additional losses. This year the climate is slowing down the spread of pests, losses due to frost are only threatened in the south-west of France in the Charente, the ministry said. In Alsace, a lack of rain could lead to a lower weight of the grapes.
Crisis team due to drought
According to the experts, the harvest could still be adversely affected if the drought and extreme heat continue. The French government has set up a crisis team because of the severe drought. "This drought is the worst that has ever been recorded in our country," said Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne's office last week.
The extreme drought could last for two weeks or even worsen. The drought is a "disaster" for farmers across the country and for the environment. Temperatures of almost 40 degrees were reached in France yesterday and are expected to last until Sunday.
Farmers' association warns of crop losses
In Germany, Farmers' Union President Joachim Rukwied once again warned of crop failures and higher prices due to the drought. "At the moment we are fighting on many fronts. Fertilizer prices are four times higher than a year ago. Energy costs are twice as high. Feed costs have increased," said the association's president, Joachim Rukwied, to the dpa news agency. If it doesn't rain continuously in the near future, there will be a drop in yield of 30 to 40 percent.
The grain harvest for this year is on the home straight, but the harvest of the autumn crops – potatoes or sugar beet, for example – is still pending. "I don't want to rule out that crops that are harvested in autumn in particular will experience price increases," said Rukwied. "All in all, the weather situation is of course a burden on our operations."
Climate change affects in the long term
The turf is brown in some regions. "Nothing grows back there." Some farms would therefore already have to feed in winter fodder supplies because they could no longer cut green fodder. According to Rukwied, agriculture is preparing for drier and hotter summers with water- and soil-saving processes. "But ultimately it is to be feared that due to climate change, we will no longer be able to achieve the level of earnings of the 1990s, for example."