Germany concerned at possibility of third straight drought year

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Germany’s agriculture minister said on Wednesday she is concerned about the impact of continued dry weather on crops and that a third drought year could hit farms “incredibly hard”.

Germany suffered droughts in 2018 and 2019 which caused harvest damage and loss of income, Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner said in a statement. The ground remains unusually dry.

“We see that many regions ... have not received rain for several weeks,” she said.

Since mid-March, some regions had received less than 10 litres of rainfall per square metre compared to 50 litres per square metre usually, she said.

Germany is one of Europe’s leading producers of crops including wheat, barley, rapeseed and sugar beet.

Germany’s mild winter also means more insect problems for crops.

The government is “intensively monitoring” the situation to assess whether Germany is facing a third drought year in succession, she said. The government in past droughts introduced financial support programmes for farmers.

Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Nick Macfie