Pasture Productivity

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Recently the European Commission commissioned research into pasture productivity for Europe. The UK is far from being the only country affected by a long dry spell, the adverse weather experienced across much of the UK is widespread across all of Northern Europe. Specifically looking at the growing season of 2018, a summary of the findings is detailed below.

Dry and hot conditions persist in northern Germany, the Benelux, Denmark, southern Sweden, UK and Ireland. These are the EU countries in which pasture conditions have been most affected, as highlighted by the pasture productivity index (PPI) and the fAPAR (fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation by vegetation) anomalies map. The average fAPAR between May and July 2018 for all of these countries is the lowest on the historical archive (1999-2017).

Pastures have been most severely affected by the dry conditions in north and north-east Germany. This region has experienced a substantial lack of rainfall and unusually hot conditions since the beginning of May. Exceptionally dry conditions since June have significantly damaged pasture productivity in the Southern UK and Ireland, with large areas of England and Wales particularly affected. The most similar year for the UK and Ireland is 2006, however in 2006 this occurred a month later as significant rainfall in May prevented water stress until July.  The full report and explanation of methodology can be read here.