Bad weather dampens 2010 harvest

Difficult weather conditions and a decline of cultivation areas have led to significant harvest declines this year.Federal statistics authority Statistik Austria announced today (Fri) that overall harvest volumes dropped by 6.5 per cent year on year to around 4.5 million tons.Branch representation authority Agrarmarkt Austria (AMA) predicted a year on year decrease of five per cent in its annual outlook given in August which was, like June and July, dominated by unusually hot temperatures, several devastating thunderstorms and flooding.Insurance agency records show that farmers across the country reported overall damages of 10 million Euros caused by thunderstorms on one weekend in the middle of July alone.The Salzburg BakersÂ’ Association warned in October that customers must brace themselves for higher bread and pastry prices due to the “disastrous” harvest this year and a strong increase of flour trade rates. The association promised bakeries will try to keep price increases “as minimal as possible”.Figures presented by Statistik Austria today also show that the cultivation of wheat remained at a steady level at 1.5 million tons, while rye harvest rates dropped by a whopping 12 per cent year on year to 161,000 tons.The soy harvest rate was raised by around a third to 94,500 tons due to an extension of cultivation areas, while the potato production rate shrank by seven per cent to 671,7000 tons.