Dry summer results in worst Danish harvest since 1980s

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Dry summer results in worst Danish harvest since 1980s
A dry Danish corn filed photographed in July. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The agricultural sector is set to record huge losses after grain harvests produced the lowest output since 1983.


With only minimal amounts still to be registered, the total harvest of grain for 2018 will reach around 6.5 million tonnes, according to industry representative organisation Dakofo.

The figure represents a ten million tonne or 35 percent reduction in comparison with 2017.

“The primary explanation is the long period of drought from when the crops were planted in the spring to when they were harvested,” Dakofo director Asbjørn Børsting said.

This summer’s weather is not the only contributory factor to the reduction in output relative to last year.

Poor weather in the autumn of 2017, when there was a high amount of rainfall, is also partly to blame, according to Troels Toft, section director at Seges, a research centre for the agricultural sector.

“Autumn last year was tough, and lots of farmers sowed seeds in awful mud or were unable to sow them before winter,” Toft said.

This resulted in many having no option but to wait until spring to sow a different type of grain, which gives poorer harvest returns and is more vulnerable to dry weather.

“So you can say that there was a series of events. The bad weather in autumn 2017 made the drought problem this year even worse,” Toft said.

This year’s grain harvest is the worst since 1985, according to Statistics Denmark figures. But the result in effective terms could be even worse than those figures suggest, Børsting said.

“You can measure and compare in many ways, but if you consider all crops equally, this might be the worst harvest for 100 years. It was extremely bad,” he said.

Seges has previously estimated potential losses of 7.5 billion kroner for the agricultural sector.

Parliament last week approved an aid package of 380 million kroner for the sector as a result of the dry summer.

READ ALSO: Denmark considers political relief for drought-hit farmers



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