Severe drought across several parts of Europe, which has been “expanding and worsening” since the beginning of the year, is affecting crop yields, says European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski.

Commissioner Wojciechowski highlighted that, currently, 47% of the EU is under drought conditions, with 17% in “alert” drought levels.

He said that the driest conditions and hottest temperatures have been recorded in central and northwestern Italy, Spain, Portugal, Romania and southern France.

The Commissioner warned that in these regions, yield forecasts for grain maize, sunflowers and soya beans are below their five-year average.

Wojciechowski was commenting on the Global Drought Observatory (GDO) July 2022 analytic report on drought in Europe.

He said the Commission is in contact with the EU member states affected and remains available to assist them to support the farmers affected within the framework and rules of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Water supply

The GDO analysis for Europe shows that a severe rain deficit has affected river discharges widely across Europe and this has led to a situation where competition for water resource is high and has started earlier than usual.

It found that this water shortage and the stress it has caused on crops, along with the simultaneous heat stress, has reduced crop yields and yield potential.

Worryingly, the GDO forecasts that drier than normal conditions will remain in large parts of Europe for the next three months.

“Severe drier than normal weather conditions are predicted over France, Germany, Switzerland, northern Spain and Portugal, northern Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, northern Romania, southern Poland and most of the United Kingdom and Ireland in the period July to September 2022,” it said.

The GDO said these forecasts will worsen the already “very critical situation” and warned that they will “exacerbate drought severity and the impacts on agriculture, energy and water supply”.

Farmers can read more about the GDO analysis and outlook here.

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