In recent days and weeks, articles have started to appear in the Czech media that farmers are beginning to be harmed by heavy rains. The reaction didn't last long. There were a lot of mocking comments in the discussions and among the journalistic community itself about what farmers were complaining about again. There are several reasons why the current weather is not so good for agriculture and can have consequences for the summer harvest.
First of all, it is fair to say that we can be glad that in mid-May it began to rain. In the last 500 years, the Czech Republic has not experienced a worse drought. This culminated in March and April after five years. Subsequent rains helped farmers with moisture, especially in the surface layer up to 40 cm. Groundwater up to a level of about 1 meter is filled mostly in spring after winter melting, but this year the snowfalls were below average and water at the level of 40 to 100 cm was missing. Only june torrential and frontal rains helped to straighten the water levels so that more than 90% of the Czech Republic has enough surface and groundwater. We see a certain rainfall deficit only in the north-west Bohemia around Louny and Žateca, which very often suffer from being in the rain shadow of the Erzgegeonic Mountains.
However, the insuasent rains showed the current problems of the Czech Republic in the field of water management. We are not able to effectively retain water in the landscape (for example, in the form of meliorations), floods form, water flows away and evaporates. This is one of the main problems we have been facing in recent years. According to our data and the information we store in Agdata, more than a quarter of our clients had problems with mechanisation travels and could not get to all farm sites because it was soaked. Fortunately, farmers get timely information about impending rain and rainfall totals thanks to weather and sensor systems, and they can continue to work with this data.
Problems with mechanisation travel mainly concern meadows near forests or streams and rivers. Farmers could not sing their meadows for two reasons. On the one hand, because of the water-soaked soil, they could not get anywhere they needed to go, the grass was wet due to frequent rainfall, which is not good for the sustening. According to our estimates, they had to leave more than 10% of the usable area fallow. Torrential rains simply do not help mechanization.
A separate chapter is crops and their harvest. This year we expect a better harvest than in previous years in terms of quantity, but we do not yet know what the quality of the crops will be. Frequent storms wash away plant protection products, which suffer from various diseases, fungal or rust. This applies, for example, to fruit or potatoes, which can become entate due to rain. In addition, the rains wash out nitrogenous substances, which they fertilize in the spring. Many farmers have still not gone to digitisation and are not moving effectively. Therefore, it may happen that more nitrogenous substances are washed up and the crop is at greater risk. Thanks to the rains, we will probably have a richer harvest, but at the same time it will not be of such quality. The decision will now be made in August, the first half of which was warm, but then again came torrential rains and thunderstorms. Fields and meadows would benefit from a little more stable sunny weather, so that there is something to harvest and it is possible to get to all places with mechanization. In any case, we will not know the final results of this year's harvest until the autumn on the basis of an analysis of all available data.
Jokes about farmers and the weather are many every year. Society perceives only that farmers complain about something again, but few then look for what is good for nature and what is not. For my part, we welcomed the rain, of course, but it is very damaging to everything. After all, June was the wettest month since 1961. On average, more than 15 cm of precipitation fell across the country. Perhaps this commentary will help the reader to understand the current situation in Czech fields and meadows more read.