Cultivation/Production, Europe, UK, Ireland, News January 2024, Sustainability, Weather/Climate

Resilience in the fields: Dutch farmers struggle through extreme weather challenges

In a recent news release issued by Wageningen University, highlighted on Phys.org, information is shared on how Dutch farmers are facing significant challenges due to extreme weather conditions. The report details the struggles of these farmers as they grapple with the impacts of climate change, including drought, extreme heat, and unusually heavy rainfall.

The severe weather has led to substantial crop losses, particularly affecting potatoes, carrots, and sugar beets that remain unharvested in waterlogged fields. Wijnand Sukkel, a researcher at Wageningen University, notes the detrimental effects of the weather on soil structure and crop health. He mentions that the university is exploring solutions such as lighter farming machinery and breeding crop varieties more resilient to extreme weather conditions.

The situation also affects spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, with delayed planting and stress from elevated water levels potentially leading to disappointing harvests. Eric Poot, a team leader at Wageningen University, emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between draining and retaining sufficient water in the area to support agriculture.

Researchers at Wageningen University, like Gerard van der Linden, are working on breeding strategies to develop crops that can withstand these extreme conditions. For example, they are looking into crops that can lower their metabolism under waterlogged conditions, much like rice, which can ‘hold its breath’ when submerged.

The news release underscores the urgent need for adaptive strategies in agriculture to cope with the changing climate and ensure food security. It highlights the role of both scientific research and practical innovations in helping farmers navigate these challenging times.

Sources: Wageningen University via Phys.org
Photo: Credit ONAEvents

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