Bavaria: Drought in Franconia reduces harvest prospects

Munich (dpa / lby) - The Bavarian Farmers' Association (BBV) expects a below-average grain harvest due to the lack of rain in northern Bavaria.

Bavaria: Drought in Franconia reduces harvest prospects

Munich (dpa / lby) - The Bavarian Farmers' Association (BBV) expects a below-average grain harvest due to the lack of rain in northern Bavaria. Nevertheless, more grain will be produced in Bavaria than consumed, as BBV Vice President Günther Felssner announced on Thursday. "Raw materials for pretzels and wheat beer are not in danger."

"Spring was very dry for a long time, especially in northern Bavaria," said Minister of Agriculture Michaela Kaniber (CSU) according to the announcement. "A look at this year's weather conditions makes it clear again that the forecasts of the climate researchers are unfortunately coming true." In the local latitudes there are probably more and more extreme weather conditions "which affect plant growth and the work of our farmers".

According to the ministry, the area under cereal cultivation in Bavaria has remained the same as in the previous year at around one million hectares. Kaniber emphasized that almost half of the meadows and pastures in Bavaria - that's around 500,000 hectares - are now managed without mineral fertilizers or pesticides. The background: environmentalists criticize that excessive fertilization reduces biodiversity and pollutes the water. Municipal utilities and water suppliers also complain about the pollution caused by nitrates and phosphates in the groundwater.

As the global supply of wheat is expected to be tight this year due to the Ukraine war and poor harvest prospects in several major producing countries, the farmers' association appealed to the EU to make farmers' work easier. Specifically, Felssner called for a suspension of the so-called "compulsory fallow land" and the regulations for crop rotation. Actually, from 2023, four percent of the arable land across the EU should not be cultivated and lie fallow in order to improve soil regeneration.

Crop rotation means that different crops should be grown on the fields in alternating years, and not just one crop year after year. "Our farms are now planning their cultivation for the 2023 harvest," said Felssner, according to the announcement. "You need clarity now."

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