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Farmers struggling with crops, livestock due to dry weather

The droughts due to long heat waves are becoming more frequent in Estonia.
The droughts due to long heat waves are becoming more frequent in Estonia. Source: Olev Kenk/ERR

Farmers across Estonia say their crops and livestock are struggling due to the drier-than-average weather.

This year's lack of rain and long drought has affected the majority of farms in Estonia this year.

Dry and yellowing fields are a common sight across the country this year, Thursday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

Andres Oopkaup, chairman of the Farmers Cooperative KEVILI, representing rapeseed and grain growers, said the main concern is money. Farmers have made large investments but are reaping little reward this year.

"Fertiliser was still €800 a tonne in the spring, which was quite expensive. We have been fertilizing the fields with this expensive fertilizer and, actually, we have got a result where we are unlikely to get anything back. Here in this field, it's 27 hectares - I think about a dozen hectares here have been practically destroyed," he said.

While all farmers have suffered, livestock farmers have been hit hardest as there is a lack of silage to feed their animals, said farmer Kervin Adamson.

"Unfortunately, if the rains stop and the crops don't grow, the only option is to take your animals to the meat processing plant. Unfortunately, if you have no food for your animals, there is no other alternative," he said.

Thursday's downpour was too little, too late.

Adamson said the rain can now only affect the quality of the grain, while Oopkaup stated that this year's harvest will be poor.

"If we compare, for example, with last year's yields, it is already safe to say that they have fallen considerably. As last year's May rainfall was two to five times higher than this year's May, depending on the region, and May is also the month in which the yield is set," said Adamson.

"We'll probably still produce a million tonnes in Estonia, but that's still a gross reduction of almost half," said Oopkaup.

Many farmers think a state of emergency should be declared, AK said.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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