The fruit-growing company Boddinobst in the Ludwigslust district irrigates 80 percent of its apple orchards, 180 hectares after all. The drip irrigation replaces the daily loss of evaporation, said managing director Günter Brandt on Thursday of the dpa. In the event of an acute lack of water, the trees would shed blossoms and fruit sets or only produce small fruits.
In Eschenhörn (Güstrow district), fruit farm boss Steffen Schönemeyer reckons that around half of the apple trees will not bear any fruit. The night frosts of up to minus 7 degrees this week would have frozen many flowers. He said that he installed frost protection irrigation for five of his twelve hectares. There was hardly any damage there. The water droplets envelop the flowers in ice and protect them from severe frost.
The vines in the “Stargarder Land” wine-growing region (Mecklenburg-Strelitz) have also had damp nights. However, the plants do not need water because of the drought, as winemaker Henry Ebert said in Rattey. "The wine is deep-rooted and goes up to 25 meters into the ground to get water and nutrients." The vineyards are heated with water from a pond that is warmer than the air. The ice armor around the vine wood, stimulates sugar production and brings movement and thus warmth into the plant, explained Ebert. "I hope we saved the harvest with the frost protection sprinkler." The wine-growing area in Rattey and Burg Stargard with 3.7 hectares and around 16,000 vines is considered to be the northernmost wine-growing area in Germany. Recently, however, wine has also been grown on Sylt.
In agriculture, a 30 percent loss of rapeseed yield is considered safe. Young maize plants and potatoes also lack water. Only a few companies can irrigate their crops.
Agriculture Minister Till Backhaus (SPD) assesses the situation as very serious. However, the drought varies from region to region, worse in the east of the country than in the west or on the coast. He and the farmers hope for rain soon: "A lot depends on the next two weeks."
According to the State Forestry Agency, 1,030 hectares will be afforested in the state forests this year, 70 percent of them in spring. "The young cultures are the first to be affected by the drought," it said. If the trees do not receive enough water after they have been planted, they persist in their growth and remain behind. This makes them more susceptible to disease and pests. With increasing drought, the forest pests would become more active.
The flight of bark beetles has increased sharply for two weeks, as the forestry agency announced. The highest forest fire warning level has been in effect almost everywhere since the end of April. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there were already seven fires on almost six hectares of forest in the spring. (dpa)