The EU Commission's proposed regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products (SUR) would make classic arable farming, fruit growing, vegetable growing, and viticulture in protected areas impossible and would be accompanied by massive yield losses and reductions in farm incomes. This is confirmed by an expert report commissioned by the German Farmers' Association and prepared by the Soest University of Applied Sciences.
The report determines the effects of the draft SUR on the operating results of arable, forage, and vegetable farms, as well as the consequences for the range of crops in the affected areas. As a result, income reductions of about 50 percent are expected on sites with high yield potential. On weaker sites, arable farming would no longer be economically viable in the medium term. In particular, the cultivation of potatoes and rapeseed, as well as vegetable production would have to be discontinued in many cases as a result. The already low level of self-sufficiency in vegetables would therefore decline further. Depending on the amount of land available and the intensity of crop protection, forage farms would also have to reckon with reduced yields and, thus a shortage of basic fodder, which the farms would not be able to fully compensate for internally.
The author of the report, Professor Dr. Friedrich Kerkhof from the Soest University of Applied Sciences, emphasizes the clarity of the results: "On the good arable land sites, the income reductions are highest for the economically strong crops potatoes, rapeseed, sugar beet, and wheat. The cultivation of potatoes is no longer economically viable, while the relative competitiveness of corn increases. In arable farming on sites with low yield potential, abandoning chemical crop protection is not economically viable. In vegetable production, the cultivation risk from pests and harmful fungi increases considerably. If chemical crop protection is abandoned, the cultivation of many types of vegetables will be abandoned or will only be worthwhile at very high price levels."
The President of the German Farmers' Association, Joachim Rukwied, emphasizes that against the background of the study, a fundamental revision of the proposals is more urgent than ever. "The report makes it clear that with its unworldly plans to reduce pesticides, the EU Commission is not only massively endangering the existence of numerous farms but is also recklessly putting Europe's secure food supply at risk. German farmers are committed to the goal of reducing the use of crop protection products as far as practically possible and have already made considerable progress in recent years. What is needed, however, are intelligent and, above all, practicable solutions that enable the EU to live up to its responsibility for food security. General reduction targets and complete bans are the completely wrong approach," says Rukwied.
Source: Deutscher Bauernverband e.V.