Livestock hardest hit by EU crop drop caused by drought – EURACTIV.com

Summer droughts across Europe have led to lower grain and grain production, increasing feed prices which, combined with a lack of pasture, will potentially have a big impact on European poultry and meat production. pork, experts have warned.

In recent months, the EU has experienced one of the worst droughts, with 14 of the 27 member states (Portugal, Italy, Spain, France, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia) severely affected, according to an analysis of Farm Europe.

These exceptionally hot and dry months have severely affected EU harvests, particularly for cereals and oilseeds, Commission representative Michael Scannell told a hearing of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee on August 31.

This resulted in a drop in gross grain production of 4% compared to the five-year average, Scannell explained.

However, one of the main concerns is corn, the production of which is expected to fall by 13.7% compared to the five-year average.

This is expected to send shockwaves through the livestock sector, due to soaring feed costs, compounded by the fact that pasture conditions were also heavily affected by the dry weather.

“We will have to remain very sensitive to the impact of this move towards fall and winter. And the decisions of farmers on how they are going to feed their animals and what it will cost them to do so, and if in these circumstances they decide, for example, to sell their animals,” Scannell warned.

Some European Parliament legislators have already mentioned the significant influence on the livestock sector in their country.

“If I look at the cattle, we have an impending disaster,” stressed Green MEP Martin Häusling, adding that many farmers “are already using their winter raw materials to feed the cattle.”

“There are stocks left over from last year. But once these stocks are depleted, the question will be whether there will be culling or whether some breeders will leave the sector altogether,” he warned.

The issue was also raised by Social Democrat MEP Clara Aguilera García, who warned that there is a “huge problem in terms of sustainability in many farming areas”.

Meanwhile, Farm Europe’s recent report also warned that farmers are already grappling with rising prices for feed and other inputs due to the war in Ukraine “now facing a need for fodder that they could have a very difficult time satisfying by the fall”. .

Long-term sustainable solutions

And these unusually dry conditions could become more regular, Scannell warned.

“[These summer conditions] are becoming more common and our systems need to evolve accordingly,” he said.

But MPs were divided on the best course of action.

While some European legislators, such as liberal democrat Ulrike Müller and Martin Häusling, criticized the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as being too myopic and lacking in incentives for water management and technology use, others cautioned against the trade-off between current and future production .

For example, Conservative MEP Veronika Vrecionová warned the Commission to be careful when proposing new green requirements for EU farmers, as they “could make the situation worse”.

Responding to concerns, the Commission representative explained that “the Commission does not see this as an option”, pointing out that derogations from certain green CAP measures, introduced to strengthen food security in the light of the war in Ukraine , “let us not question our priority and also take care to meet the challenges of climate change.

“More generally, food security will remain very high as a priority on our radar,” the Commission’s Scannell pointed out, adding that measures should not be introduced “blindly”, but rather by “finding new, more innovative alternatives”.

Severe drought in Europe ‘worsening’ EU experts say

A severe drought hitting swaths of Europe is ‘getting worse’ and, while rain is helping some areas, accompanying thunderstorms are causing their own damage, EU researchers said in a report on Monday August 22.

[Edited by Natasha Foote/Zoran Radosavljevic]

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