Norwegians stuck at home this summer may be grumbling about the chilly and rainy weather from north to south, but farmers seem happy. For the first time in several years, their crops and livestock are enjoying generally good growing conditions.
After alternate summers with flooding and drought, this year’s combination of early warmth followed by cooler weather and rain has produced excellent growing conditions for farmers like Lars Egil Lauten in Kløfta, northeast of Oslo. He raises grain and was among those hit hard by the drought two years ago, when even the prime minister visited to inspect his crop damage.
“This year I have incredibily lush fields,” Lauten told business news service E24. “We planted early in April and had good growing conditions in May.” Lauten has around 260 cattle to feed, so his grain production is important.
He’s benefitted from unusually warm weather in April, followed by some colder weather in May and more warmth in June. Lately it’s been raining almost every day, with cool temperatures that haven’t risen much above 20C (68F) and mostly have stayed well below that.
The cool, wet weather in July has been spoiling summer holidays for Norwegians unable to head south this year because of the Corona virus crisis. Even though travel has been allowed since July 15, most Norwegians have instead opted for holidays at home, and found themselves having to bundle up whether they’re in the mountains or on the coast.
Many farmers are mighty pleased, though, with those raising vegetables also looking at a very good year. Lots of local cauliflower, carrots and other produce has already arrived in local grocery stores. Tomato production was almost 50 percent higher after a warm June than in the same month last year.
Not all farmers are having a “dream summer,” as E24 put it, with late snow and lots of it in Northern Norway delaying an already short growing season. Farmers in Nord-Trøndelag mostly couldn’t tend to their fields until late May and haven’t had as much rain. “They’ll probably lie under a normal year,” Einar Strand of the farmers’ service organization Norsk Landbruksrådgiving told E24.
Fruit growers are disappointed, with apple and plum production expected to be about 25 lower this year because of some cold spring weather. “It will be an okay year, but not exceptional,” said Morten Andersen of the fruit and vegetable cooperative Grøntprodusentenes Samarbeidsråd.
Even though farmers chronically complain over what they view as insufficient state support despite hundreds of millions of kroner in direct and indirect subsidy, they ranked high on a recent survey of job satisfaction in Norway. Those employed within farming and fishing ranked as high as doctors among those most satisfied with their work, according to the survey conducted by state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway).
For more on the recent job satisfaction survey, click here (external link to SSB).