Southern Europe cereal harvest could fall by 60% after heatwaves

Many countries on the continent are currently facing down a second major ‘heat storm’, with temperatures touching 50C, islands and resort towns evacuated. But the real price may be further down the line.

corn field

European farming organisation Copa Cogeca has confirmed it expects 256million tonnes of produce from this year’s European cereal harvest. The figure is close to 10% lower than the 283million five–year-average for the region, with summer heatwaves to blame. 

The impact varies wildly from country to country, with Portugal, Spain and Italy expected to be the worst effected. Many farmers have already been preparing themselves for delays this year as a result of widespread heavy rainfall in many areas, which meant planting had to be delayed. 

‘With not much to sell and [with their crop] at a low price with very high input costs, EU crops farmers will face a very difficult situation this year,” a spokeswoman for Copa Cogeca told food retail bible The Grocer. ‘And more importantly, they risk not being able to ensure a decent harvest next year, which will be necessary to keep afloat after this year’s dramatic situation.’

News of the crop devastation comes at a time when other agricultural products are also under threat. Warnings have been issued over a number of types of fruit and vegetables, including tomatoes, with a high likelihood of irrigation requirements increasing. This in turn puts more stress on overall water supplies. Elsewhere, livestock holdings could feel the brunt of a short cereal supply, a key ingredient in many animal feeds. 

More on climate and agriculture: 

Future growth: Agricultural alternatives to pesticides

Antibiotic-resistant deaths expected to rocket in latest food chain crisis

Agrivoltaics: The future of farming?

Image: Keagan Henman



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