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Ideal weather for agriculture

May brings the rain that agriculture so desperately needs. Corn, beets, potatoes and asparagus are thirsty. The farmers are still a bit nervous. (c) proplanta

After a significantly too dry month of April, the conditions are currently very good, said Marilena Kipp from the Rhenish Agricultural Association in Bonn on Friday. However, the drought summer of 2018 burned itself deeply. "Farmers continue to look nervously to the coming weeks."

Because the soils are well moistened again in the upper layers. According to Kipp, the deeper profiles are still too dry. This is even more noticeable in the Lower Rhine with its sandy structures than in the Cologne Bay, where the soils are loamy. Although corn and beet seeds have been sown and the winter cereals are developing ears, Kipp said: "We are still urgently dependent on rainfall."

Potato farmers have already installed their irrigation systems in many places, but have hardly used them so far. "Two weeks ago we were still concerned because April had far too little rain," said Franz Josef Dickopp from the Rhenish potatoes producer group (Reka) on Friday in Viersen. According to the weather service, April had an estimated only 60 percent of the rainfall of the long-term average.

If the potato plant gets too little water, it will shed tubers, says Dickopp. Last year, according to Reka, that meant between ten and 50 percent less income. “We currently live from hand to mouth. There are only scarce water supplies, the subsoil is not saturated, ”says Dickopp. With the first new potato leaves showing on the surface, however, the confidence germinates that there will be enough rain after all.

According to the German Weather Service (DWD), 17 percent of the usual rainfall of 73 liters per square meter was achieved in May. In the next few days, heavy rain with up to 30 liters per square meter will help to achieve the monthly target, said DWD expert Markus Winkler on Friday. In addition, it stays cool. Only occasionally do the temperatures in the Rhineland rise to 15 degrees. (Agricultural weather - prospects for the next few days)

Asparagus would actually prefer it a little warmer, then the yields would be higher, said Peter Muß from the Provincial Association of Rhenish Fruit and Vegetable Farmers on Friday. At the same time, the asparagus plant urgently needs rain. Merely the harvest is more difficult as a result. Strawberries, on the other hand, only ripened under plastic tunnels or in greenhouses at the moment. "Only when we get 25 degrees and sun for a long time will the first open-air strawberries appear," says the fruit expert.

The cold and damp weather is uncomfortable for the bark beetle. After all, if the pest really "took off" in warm, dry April, as Michael Blaschke from the Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz said, its reproduction is currently slowing down. «It would be ideal for the spruce forests if it rained a lot more and stayed cold at the same time. Then the beetles would grow fungus and die. "