German farmers seek relief from heat wave, drought

A dry spell and heat wave across the north of Germany has farmers calling for EUR1 billion in special aid, but the government said it will have to wait for an August harvest report before making a decision.

ponsulak, Bigstock.com
ponsulak, Bigstock.com

A dry spell and heat wave across the north of Germany has farmers calling for EUR1 billion (US$1.17 billion) in special aid, but the government said it will have to wait for an August harvest report before making a decision, according to reports.

German farmers association DBV said the country’s grains harvest is set to fall 20 percent due to damage from drought and heat. DBV said Germany’s winter wheat harvest will be down 25 percent from the previous year.

Germany is the European Union’s second largest grain producer after France, and is usually the EU’s top producer of rapeseed.

Livestock farmers in Germany have seen a sharp rise in animal feed prices, and some have tried to cut costs by sending animals to slaughter earlier than planned.

“In many regions, we are suffering from a massive shortage of animal feed,” Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said at a press conference. But she said she will wait for the harvest report this month before deciding whether to issue aid to farmers.

"It's important that we have valid data, and not just individual estimates," she said.

But Joachim Rückwied, the head of the DBV, said action must come more quickly than that.

"Many farmers now need quick support. The numbers from our point of view allow for a fundamental decision on drought-related assistance,” he said in a statement.

“Expensive animal feed will have to be purchased,” Rückwied added.

Some regional state governments are also considering aid. Elsewhere, Sweden is expected to see a drop in the wheat harvest due to the heat wave.

 

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