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Summer drought threatens harvest

TT/The Local · 13 Jul 2010, 14:10

Published: 13 Jul 2010 14:10 GMT+02:00

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Many parts of Sweden have been suffering dry spells with fields of grain starting to dry out, with crops ripening before they have had a chance to grow fully as a result.

"We expect a significantly reduced harvest in comparison with normal. Autumn crops were hit by the difficult winter and spring crops sown to replace them have had a bad start in some places. Now the drought has also struck," said Charlotte Elander, who is monitoring the harvest continually on behalf of farmer member organization Lantmännen.

According to Stig Persson, regional manager for the Federation of Swedish Farmers (Lantbrukarnas Riksförbund - LRF) rain is needed immediately with the province of Skåne in the south of Sweden reported to be in a particularly tough situation.

"The heat is starting to be felt. The cereal crops decline every day the drought continues. But it varies depending on how sensitive the land is," Persson said.

The Skåne county administrative board has issued restrictions on irrigation, which in most cases now require approval from the environmental court, adding further to the strain felt by farmers, especially for those who have water-intensive crops, vegetables and potatoes.

"It is too early to say that the harvest is lost, but the tendency is that it could as a result of the drought. As the situation is now sprinkling is a problem," said Marianne Andersson, a farmer growing cereals, sugar and seeds outside Trelleborg in the far south of Sweden.

Dairy farmers would appear to have coped better with the drought, even if grazing has now been hit, as the first fodder grass harvests were successful in many parts of the country.

"It's a bit too hot and too dry for me to be completely satisfied, but the first fodder grass harvest was pretty good. In this industry, we must learn to handle these situations and have the feed in reserve. So far, I am not particularly worried," said Håkan Lundgren, a dairy farmer from outside Västervik in south-eastern Sweden.

Story continues below…

Gotland also enjoyed an abundant first fodder grass harvest.

"I think that the barns are pretty well stocked with grass. The problem of drought is not worse than what we are accustomed to. We almost always lose a grass crop," said Soren Isberg, a dairy farmer on the Baltic Sea island.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:01 July 13, 2010 by Mzungu
Shame! Likely have to forgo the latest Range Rover this year?

*oh well,await compensation*
15:42 July 13, 2010 by alingsaskev
Well, expect your shopping bill to double this autumn then!
16:36 July 13, 2010 by AndreaGerak
Maybe they should learn a bit more about how to do farming?

In a great part of Europe, this weather is normal (or even moderate, if you think of Spain or the Balkans), with less water supplies than here in Sweden, and they grow crops, grass, wine grapes, more delicious fruits, vegetables and all...
16:51 July 13, 2010 by alingsaskev
@ Andrea ....ah, sadly though the growing season here in Sweden is terribly short, spring arrives late and autumn arrives early, therefore the range of crops that can be successfully grown in Sweden without the help of cover are slim.
23:38 July 13, 2010 by AndreaGerak
yes, I know that, alingsaskev - but if they say that the problem is the drought, can't they figure out a solution for THAT? Like water, for example... of which there is plenty here, more than in Southern Europe.
03:52 July 14, 2010 by BigBilly
Is this another "farmers unhappy story"? we get these every year ususally when there's been some weather (dry/wet sunny/cloudy) It doesn't matter what.

Farmers are never ever happy.
07:49 July 14, 2010 by karex
I just wonder why the restriction on irrigation? Isn't that the SOP for drought conditions and why they are able to grow crops in Israel, Spain and other dry regions?

I think that Andrea has a point here. Finland is known as the land of a thousand lakes, but Sweden has even more lakes than Finland, or so I've heard.
12:01 July 14, 2010 by concha de tu puta madre
Besides the insipid strawberries, I wonder what else these farmers grow?
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