Lasting drought behind Sweden’s worst projected harvest in 25 years

Associate Professor Göran Bergqvist examining an ear of spring wheat. The prolonged drought will make for Sweden’s worst harvest in 25 years. (Richard Orange/Radio Sweden)
Sweden’s farmers are facing the worst grain harvest in a quarter of a century, according to the latest prognosis from Lantmännen, the country’s largest farming cooperative. But what does it look like out on the fields?

Göran Bergqvist, the associate professor in charge of the agricultural cropping system group at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, showed us the sparse-looking crops at the experimental fields he manages just outside Uppsala.

There was some rain on the May 3 and a little more on Midsummer Eve (June 22), but otherwise, he says, there has been almost no rainfall over the whole summer.

“I’ve never experienced something like this. And this site where we are now is a very water-safe place. I’ve never experienced drought in these fields before.”

It would be “very ignorant”, he believes, to claim climate change hasn’t played a role, although at Sweden’s latitude a warmer climate is also helping farmers.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Study in Northern Quebec to assess impact of climate change on Inuit’s food, CBC News

Finland: Rain helps tame forest fires in northern Finland, Yle News

Norway: European Arctic swelters under tropical temperatures, breaks heat records, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia’s Arctic nuclear dump could become promising fishing area, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s worst-ever wildfires could last for months, Radio Sweden

United States: Why does an Alaska Congressman want to change America’s beloved fisheries law?, Alaska Public Media

Richard Orange, Radio Sweden

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