German farmers ‘fighting many fronts,’ warn of autumn crop failures 

Berlin, Aug. 12, (dpa/GNA) - Germany’s farmers are warning of the prospect of significant crop failures in the coming months as they struggle to cope with drought and rising energy costs. 

“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,” Joachim Rukwied, president of the German Farmers’ Association, told dpa. 

“If it doesn’t rain consistently soon, then yield losses of 30, 40% are to be feared.” 

Although the grain harvest is on the home stretch for this year, he said, the harvests of autumn crops, such as potatoes and sugar beets, are pending. 

DALLGOW-DOEBERITZ, GERMANY – JULY 03: Joachim Rukwied, President of the German Farmers Association (Deutscher Bauernverband, DBV), examines the quality of barley on a field in Brandenburg on July 03, 2019 in Dallgow-Doeberitz, Germany. (Photo by Janine Schmitz/Photothek via Getty Images)

“I don’t want to rule out the possibility that crops harvested in the autumn, in particular, will still experience price increases,” Rukwied said. 

“Overall, of course, the weather situation is putting a strain on our farms,” he said, describing some ground as so brown and parched that “nothing is growing back at all.” 

Rukwied said the German agricultural industry is preparing for drier and hotter summers with methods that conserve water and soil. “But at the end of the day, it’s to be feared that due to climate change, we won’t be able to reach the yield level of the 1990s in the future, for example.”