THE UK is not the only country with the impact of drought lingering over some farmers’ future business expectations, reports Howard Walsh.
However, as the German Agricultural Society, the DLG-Agrifuture Insights survey reveals, its global panel of 2,000 ’future-orientated’ farmers, includes some with more optimism elsewhere in the world.
Generally in Europe, it is not surprising to find the survey highlighting drought conditions having left arable farms with smaller yields, while dairy operations have had to buy-in feed as a result of compromised grass growth.
Pig farmers, meanwhile, face the growing threat of African swine fever (ASF).
In Germany, farmers’ expectations for the next 12 months were at an average level compared with the past 10 years, despite arable farmers having to contend with the possibility of sowing during the continuing drought.
Oilseed rape crops were currently most vulnerable, the survey found.
The country’s dairy farmers, as in the UK, were reported to be lacking basic feed supplies, but it was pig farmers who were facing big economic impact from ASF, which is encroaching from the East.
In the Netherlands, the business outlook has deteriorated significantly compared to the survey conducted in autumn 2017.
Here, too, the drought has taken its toll, but all livestock farmers are faced with the costs of complying with new phosphorus quotas.
ASF was also clouding expectations for Dutch pig farmers.
Farmers in China were surveyed by DLG-Agrifuture Insights for the first time this autumn – and they also have average expectations for business development in the coming 12 months.
ASF in the Far East has already resulted in livestock culls and restrictions on the movement of pigs.
The fear of further disease spread was leading to uncertainty about further development.
But Chinese dairy farmers were even more cautious about their expectations than pig producers and, as a result of significant transport costs, said they hardly benefited from domestic demand for their products.
In Russia, pig farmers were more optimistic. Their market is currently protected from imports by sanctions and countermeasures.
This means domestic sales are protected, which should allow these businesses to develop positively.