Times are difficult for the agricultural world, which, in these times of crisis, is asked to produce, but which is afflicted by increasingly heavy loads and is experiencing a difficult climate context.
A sea wind that has been sweeping the department of Aude for a few weeks, drying everything in its path, exceptionally high temperatures… This does not bode well for the various agricultural sectors, as Jean-Pierre Alaux, president of the FDSEA: crops, viticulture and even breeding, where there is, we cannot wait for a second cut”, he worries. The water deficit is particularly worrying in arable crops, as Jérôme Barthès, from FDSEA explains: “For cereals and rapeseed, it is now that fertility occurs, that the grains fill up and, with the drought and the autan wind, it can be complicated, with a PMG, the weight of a thousand grains, which will not be important, as well as the establishment of spring crops . There will be a break”, worries the farmer from Lauragais.
“In La Piège, some rapeseed companies are already talking about windrowing and early harvesting. Late May, when it’s usually late June, or even early July.
On the grass, the first cutting, bandaging and silage have already begun. Three weeks earlier than usual, again to try to save the crop, as with these heat spikes the grass goes dormant and no longer grows. So you have to harvest to maintain the quality”, testifies Sophie Maniago. “15 days, three weeks earlier, which means a lot less material.
As for dry fodder, it is also starting to be placed in the Andes. Tractors begin to mow. Likewise, heat stroke causes grass to stop growing; matures and we are also forced to cut to maintain quality”, continues the La Piège farmer who, for now, estimates two thirds of this year’s harvest.
“On the other hand, as we are not told about rain, we will not have a second growth. We can predict that at the level of pastures, we will have to feed the animals very quickly. cereal supplement prices. Feed for sheep and lambs was €320 per ton last year, €418 last month, and now it is €450. Raises that creators must assume. There is an upward trend for lambs, but that doesn’t cover the rise in prices. Meat prices are announced higher, but the price of inputs is also increasing. Inevitably, the margin returned to the farm is in deficit despite the price increase”, warns Sophie Maniago. And to finish “with the outbreak of powdered milk to complement the lambs in the milk”. covers the charges.
“It is difficult to project ourselves into the future and we are forced to calculate our crop rotations in the very short term”, they all report with one voice. “We are offered seedlings at €800 per ton. Do we have to do it? Not do it? Delivery in July. It’s early, but what if after that it goes to 600? Nobody knows! Prices are a real puzzle.” They talk about the war in Ukraine, about the certainty that it will have consequences. “We are in a global market. The war necessarily affects the prices that are running, the scarcity. If, in Europe, we do not acquire regulatory tools, if we do not put in place a price framework for cereals and inputs, we will leave a good number of farmers on the side of the road”, worries Sophie Maniago. Jean-Pierre Alaux, meanwhile, is worried about the crazy increase in farm equipment and fears it won’t fall anytime soon. We are talking about 25%”, he says. “When there is no shortage…”, they point out.
Scarcity yes, but for them, they are also organized there is speculation. Non-road diesel, oil…anything goes. “In creation, there are a lot of construction projects. All of this is stalled due to a 30-40% increase in estimates.”
Among winegrowers, the situation is no longer enviable. The inputs have a cost and the price of the wine does not follow.” I am organic and the organic fertilizer, the phyto products ordered last year because we were not sure we had them, took 30%”, testifies José Mancheno, president of ASA Fanjeaux-Razès-Sou, authorized trade union association. “Not to mention the problem of supplying glass and corks and, consequently, a very complicated bottling that requires storage and, therefore, additional costs for our companies.” He would have reason to rejoice as, on Monday, around forty farmers – 39 to be exact – in his sector will have access to water. 800 hectares will be irrigated, of which 340 are vineyards. A forceps victory that everyone had been waiting for since April. “The companies met the deadlines. Not Enedis. The city council, after our intervention, had to intervene to have a connection date!”, he complains with Jean-Pierre Alaux.
Aude was not directly affected by the avian flu, but she does not escape collateral damage, insists Alaux. “There are people who want to stop. The breeders have employees, they have the structures but they don’t have ducklings”, points out the leader of the agricultural union. “They are doomed to make only 50% of the volumes by the end of the year.” A meeting was held in Salles-sur-l’Hers in the presence of breeders and the two deputy mayors. “We have alerted the MSA to get prompt measures of support and we hope that the State will come up with a plan to help them and remedy the collateral difficulties.”
The Natura 2000 network could be the last straw. “We do not appreciate the open letter that the LPO has just sent us. We met them at the Maison des Associations. After 3 hours and 20 minutes of discussion, we obtained their verbal support for any act of production, organic or conventional, in our Natura 2000 areas. This allows us to imagine that we can continue to work together. The letter does not correspond at all to your verbal commitments. We will decide with a firm departmental position, in mid-June, during the Board of Directors of the FDSEA Directors, and we will respond to this letter”, warns President Alaux.