Germany sees a slow recovery from drought

Published 18 July 19

In the aftermath of the hot and dry summer of 2018, German milk production only just recovered to year earlier levels in mid- February this year.

Despite recording the warmest on German records in the April to July period, coupled with below average rainfall, weekly milk production had been running comfortably above 2017 levels through to June. By the end of July however, the impacts of the drought on crops, water availability and animal performance started to affect production. Milk deliveries fell below year earlier volumes, and stayed in a deficit position into the beginning of 2019, due to some herd rationalisation, higher feed costs and much reduced forage availability.

German milk production

In the first four months of 2019, milk production in Germany has started to show signs of recovery, with total production over the period down only slightly (0.2%) on 2018. While there were some high temperatures in the last two weeks of June, recording highs of 34°C against a historic average of 22°C, it had only a short term impact. Weekly deliveries fell between 1% and 2% year on year during this time, but quickly recovered as the heatwave was not prolonged.

The EU short term outlook for dairy suggests that the mainly favourable weather seen in the spring, which has supported good pasture conditions, will allow forage reserves to be built and support milk production through the latter part of the year. However, the slow recovery in Germany’s production from the impacts of last summer will, in part, have contributed to the limited growth expected in EU28 milk production for the upcoming season.

Jennie Tanner