Gulbene municipality Tirza parish farm "Lejas Zosēni" owner Jānis Jēgers showed his fields to Latvian Radio – in the higher places of the winter wheat field, spots of sunburned grain are visible and the soil has been cracked. The landlord no longer has much hope of rain.
However, lower down in Zemgale, there has been some rain. Head of the Farmers Saeima Juris Lazdiņš said that rainfall could not compensate for the current drought, but the situation could only be somewhat stabilized.
The organization estimates that drought in the Zemgale region affected 30% to 90% of the farms' planned harvest.
At the Council for the Cooperation of Agricultural Organizations, grain farmers estimate that this year could account for about half of the harvest that has been in good years, but the real situation will only be seen when the harvest begins. Grain prices will depend on what happens around the world and are set on an international exchange, but other countries have also been hit by drought.
Latvian Agriculture Minister Didzis Šmits (United List), who attended the meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council on Tuesday, told Latvian Radio that the drought has affected a number of European countries, such as Spain and Portugal, Lithuania, and Finland.
At the meeting, Latvia requested exceptions from the regulations to allow mowed grass that should not be touched under EU regulation to be used in feed.
Latvia requests derogations from the EU requirements for areas that are not producing yields at the moment, allowing farmers to use their available arable land more flexibly in order to minimize the negative impact of adverse weather conditions on the farmer's revenues and viability, according to the statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture on Latvia's position at this meeting.
The Minister said that all Member States have an understanding of the situation and support the need for exceptions, which will still have to be brought into line with the European Commission.
On the other hand, financial support for farmers due to drought should be considered too early for the time being, as the losses can be estimated in August, explained Šmits.
The Minister said that action would also be taken at the national level, allowing farmers to obtain fodder outside permitted areas, then identifying losses and seeking funding at EU and national level.