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Weather and mice hit grain harvests

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Weather and mice hit grain harvests
Photo: DPA
13:11 CEST+02:00
Farmers across Germany are preparing for a difficult year as heavy rain and storms – and an explosion in the mouse population – take their toll on grain harvests.

Current harvesting work has been interrupted by the rain recently, while harvests were already expected to have been hit by the spring frosts which damaged many fields.

Lower Saxony's state farmers' association said it was expecting a ten percent drop in grain harvest this year compared to last, which itself was a disappointing one. “With 5.1 million tonnes of harvested grain, that was already an abysmal year,” said a spokeswoman.

Farmers in Brandenburg, Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein said it had been too wet recently to expect a good result.

And in Thuringia the wet weather was compounded by a mouse plague. “Where the weather was not so awful, the mice came,” said Reinhard Kopp from the Thuringia farmers' association.

Current harvesting efforts in North Rhine-Westphalia have been interrupted by the weather, but a spokesman for the state chamber of commerce said the situation did not look so bad because nothing had been damaged by hail. “So far everything is still there,” he said.

Farmers in the more southern states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland Palatinate and Hesse say their grain suffered badly from the frost, while the spring was too dry, and they are now keen to see the rain.

There are fears in Bavaria that the dry May could result in a smaller harvest, while up north in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern farmers are happy with the current wet weather.

Vegetable farmers have also been pleased by recent deluges as it means they have had to water their crops less.

The Local/DPA/hc

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