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Drought Withers Baltic Crops

Farmers around the Baltic Sea affected by dry, hot conditions, with small harvests also predicted in Central Europe.

5 July 2018

Lithuania’s decision to declare a nationwide state of emergency underlines how an unusual drought is affecting grain crops in Poland and the Baltic states.

 

The government declared the state of emergency in response to the prolonged drought, the Baltic Times reports.

 

Recent rains have eased the situation in many areas, but came too late for many farmers. A third of the harvest has already been lost, Agriculture Minister Giedrius Surplys said Tuesday.

 

Fields in Lithuania. Image via Modris Putns/Wikimedia Commons.

 

Two weeks ago, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned of “very significant” crop losses if the drought persisted.

 

Experts said about a third of Polish crops have been damaged by the drought and unusually high spring temperatures. Farmers in Lithuania and Latvia were also affected, AFP reported.

 

This May was the warmest in 55 years in Poland, with average daily temperatures more than 3 degrees Celsius higher than last year, Zuzanna Sawinska from the University of Life Sciences in Poznan told the PAP news agency.

 

 

  • Latvia saw no rain throughout May and much of June, forcing farmers to begin culling their cattle due to a shortage of fodder, AFP says.

 

  • Latvia’s Crisis Management Council in late June decided not to declare a state of emergency due to the drought. Such a declaration was not needed because existing laws can deal with the effects of the situation, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said, according to the Baltic Times.

 

  • Several years of drought and this spring’s high temperatures are also hitting Czech agriculture. Farmers began harvesting grain crops two to three weeks earlier than usual, Novinky.cz reported on 25 June. Experts expect the harvest to be up to a fifth smaller than last year.

 

  • Denmark and Sweden might need to import wheat to compensate for losses due to drought, Reuters reported on 15 June. “EU Baltic Sea countries are large exporters of high quality, high protein wheat and a very dry summer means the outlook for the crop is poor,” one German trader said.

Compiled by Ky Krauthamer

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