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5/07/2007

Alarm grows in European farming over drought

Europe
May 2007

Berlin, Germany - A spring drought affecting parts of Europe north of the Alps is worrying farmers, who say they need rain within the next couple of weeks or crops will fail. Mechanical rakes raise clouds of dust when they are drawn over many fields. Helmut Born of the German Farmers Federation said this week: "We are hearing from the meteorologists that the drought area stretches from northern France through to Poland."Affected farmers say the soil is as dry as it usually is in August. Erhard Kunz, a 43-year-farmer at Alzey in western Germany who grows wheat and barley, says, "Even if it rains now, it can't be a top harvest. I'd guess it will be about 80 per cent of potential. "And if it doesn't rain in the next week or two, it will be a lousy harvest."After a rainy March, this April was among the hottest on record for many places in Europe, and dry too. Reports are coming in from farm advisers in much of Germany that the rural world is worried, "very worried," according to Frieder Zimmermann of the Rhineland Palatinate farmers' union in Germany.
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