It dusts

It dusts

30 degrees. Sunshine. Blue sky. Hardly a cloud to be seen in the sky. Especially not a rain cloud. What sounds like a dream for vacationers and bathers is becoming more and more of a problem for farmers.

"The doves are already starting to sleep."A phrase that may sound funny to some county residents. For farmers, there’s a serious problem behind it all. In any case, the pears in the district of kitzingen have stopped growing, informs BBV district manager wilfried distler. The leaves are on the ground. Corn also rolls up its leaves, cob formation has barely progressed. Colleagues in bad kissingen are already considering whether to start chipping in one or two weeks – six to eight weeks earlier than normal. "It’s even drier there than here," says distler.

25 liters per square meter have been measured in kitzingen so far in july. In the last six weeks it was not even 100 liters per square meter. And if it has rained, then not flat-covering, but selectively. "What we needed now was a gentle, steady downpour," says the BBV’s head of business affairs. 30 to 40 liters of flat and the world of the farmers would look better again.

Alois kraus can only confirm that. The cereal harvest has already run, the result was significantly worse than the average. "We just don’t get used to the weather here," says the BBV’s district chairman. But the start to the year was certainly wet. In the first three months of the year fell sufficient precipitation in the county. What sounded good at first was a sign for the plants not to have to root so deeply in the first place. Then all at once it became very dry and hot. "And the plants were overtaxed," says kraus, who is hoping for a few liters of precipitation in the next few days so that at least the intercrops will get enough moisture. "The soil is like ashes at the moment," he says. If you drive across the country and see thick clouds of dust over the plain, you can assume that a farmer is digging. "There’s no moisture left in the soil," says wilfried distler. "This year everything is just out of sync. We urgently need rain."

The plants are not the only ones suffering from the drought and the heat. "The more animals are in the barn, the coarser the stress", female distler. Especially cattle are very sensitive in this respect. Already, several livestock farmers have set up fans in the barns to make the heat at least a little bearable. The farmer ernst drobek from willanzheim is one of them. "The high temperatures are already a problem for the cows," he says. On the ceiling of the milking machine room, coarse fans rotate, an additional one hangs in the entrance area and circulates the air to provide relief for the animals. In the coarse barn the doors and gates are open, so that the air can pass through. "You can already see that the cows go where there is a draught and it is a bit cooler."The animals also drink much more than usual, the milk yield decreases. "But they don’t mind the cold at all."

At least the meteorologists are giving farmers a little hope for this weekend, with light rain forecast for the county. But after that it is supposed to be dry and sunny again. In the coming week, temperatures are again reported around 30 degrees and hardly any clouds in the sky.

If this drought continues for a few more weeks, the water level of the mains could drop to a critical level. At the moment, however, there are still no effects, says helko frohner, press spokesman for the water and shipping office. Thanks to the barrages, the river main can be regulated well during these dry phases. Water is supplied via the main-danube canal – as long as the danube still carries enough of it.

"Everything is in the green", says roger lindholz from the light, power and water works (LKW) in kitzingen, too. The water supply is currently "not an issue at all"." The water reservoirs are well filled. "We had sufficient moisture in winter and spring."

How it will look like in the coming years? The intervals between one dry summer and the next seem to be getting shorter and shorter. The year 2003 still felt like an exception for the farmers.

"Before that, people talked almost forever about the dry year of 1976," alois kraus recalls. The last summer with drought-related crop failures was just three years ago. After 2015, 2018 will probably also go down in the history books as an extremely dry and difficult year. A phenomenon that farmers in this country will have to get used to.


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