Grain advisor in Norwegian Farm Counsellors:
“I do not think the regular Joe understands what’s going on. This is an extreme situation that we have never experienced before”.
The worst grain crops in more than 50 years
The farmers despair over what seems to be the worst season for grain crops since the early 1960s. “Extreme situation”, says an advisor.
– I do not think the regular Joe understands what’s going on. This is an extreme situation that we have never experienced before, says grain advisor in Norwegian Farm Counsellors (Norsk Landbruksrådgiving), Bjørn Inge Rostad to Aftenposten.
The grain farmers are unevenly affected, but Rostad thinks the grain crops can be down to 40 per cent of what is normal.
Chairman of the Board in the Cereal Producers’ Organization, John Lilleborge also believes that the production is a halved on a nationwide basis.
– When we talk about halving of the crops, it means that the gross revenues are halved. Ergo it is de facto much larger, Lilleborge emphasises.
Reduced crops also lead to increased import needs. If the crops are halved, there may be a need to be imported around 600,000 metric ton to replace it.
The extreme drought hit the dairy farmers hard as well. The meagre rainfall in Eastern Norway has not served to improve the situation, and many farmers are uncertain whether they are able to gather enough feed for the winter. Several farmers see no other way out than to send their animals to the slaughter.
Vice President of Nortura, Hans Thorn Wittussen, has no estimate of how many animals are lacking feed for the winter, according to Dagens Næringsliv. He thinks it entirely depends on how the weather is going to be in the time to come. As of today, between half a million and one million “tractor eggs” is lacking.
The financial loss that farmers face is also difficult to estimate, but the Norwegian Farmers’ and Small Farmers’ Union fear a loss in the billion range, according to Nationen. If one estimates a 50 per cent crop loss on grain and similar crops, the losses in these products alone will amount to NOK 1.5 billion.
Both hay and vegetable crops have been hit hard as well. According to the newspaper, the rough estimate by the Small Farmers Union is an economic loss of the order of NOK 2-3 billion all in all.
The farmers in Eastern Norway are referring to what they now face as an extreme situation, and several have seen it as necessary to ask the banks for financial assistance. As a result of the drought, Landkreditt recently offered payment deferrals and other solutions to help farmers who are in a liquidity crisis, according to DN.
But while looking for other solutions, Sør-Trøndelag Bondelag appears to have found an alternative. The Farmers Association says to Adresseavisen that the straw from their grain harvest can solve the feed crisis in eastern Norway.
– If the farmers in Trøndelag are willing and the weather is ok, Trøndelag can provide southern Norway with what is needed for ruminant feed. Our message is: Do not slaughter animals, wait for the grain harvest in Trøndelag, says Organization Manager in Sør-Trøndelag Bondelag, Jon Gisle Vikan.Theoretically, after the grain harvest of the year in Trøndelag, between 400,000 and 500,000 bales of straw can be made, according to Vikan.
– We need some of this straw here in Trøndelag, but most of it we can send to Eastern Norway.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today