Bad weather in May upsets the farmers’ calendar

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Organic maize producer in Ponsan-Soubiran (Gers), Yves Cazes started sowing at the beginning of the week… a month late compared to the initial schedule, due to the incessant rains in May. Report.

On the road that leads to the village of Ponsan-Soubrian, on the southern borders of the Gers, the green of the vegetation does not deceive: the rain has fallen in abundance in recent weeks. If the rain was eagerly awaited by the farmers, paradoxically not everyone hoped so much, like Yves Cazes, producer of organic corn in this town on the border with the Hautes-Pyrénées. “What’s annoying is the constant rain,” shares the 64-year-old farmer. If the ground is wet, you can’t work. »

Although he had scheduled sowing for early May, due to the incessant rains, which gave him no incentive, the organic maize producer had no choice but to tirelessly postpone sowing. “More than 100 mm of rainfall fell locally in one month, confides the farmer, who was only able to work the land for windows of at most 2 days. It usually doesn’t rain much in spring. »

“If we sow and catch a storm, it’s catastrophic”

Finally, after having cost Yves Cazes a month behind the initial schedule, the sky was more forgiving in these first days of June. “There we have the optimal conditions for a seed to germinate. What does it need? Moisture underneath, heat and air in the soil,” explains the farmer. As he lightly scrapes the surface of the soil, he reveals a dark brown earth, a guarantee of humidity, until he reaches a seed of corn buried 4-5 cm deep.

Sun, moist earth and airy earth… After a month of rain, the conditions are ideal for sowing organic corn.

Taking advantage of a break, from Monday until Wednesday, the organic corn producer is therefore at work, with the help of service providers, to sow hundreds of thousands of seeds on his 50 hectares of land, crossing his fingers and begging the sky “let it not rain this week”. It is no coincidence that “50% of the harvest is played out during planting, underlines Yves Cazes. Seeding is a bit like poker. If after sowing there are 3 or 4 days of good weather, everything is fine. If we sow and catch a storm, it’s catastrophic…”

Yield reduced by 10 to 20%

However, even before having finished sowing, the farmer, under contract with Gasco, already knows that the delay of the month will have an undoubted impact on the yield, even if the climatic conditions are ideal until the November harvest. “The consequence, when we pass the May milestone, is that I have had to use earlier varieties and therefore the yield drops by 10 to 20%,” shares the 60-year-old.

With the help of service providers, Yves Cazes intends to complete the seeding of his 50 hectares of land this Wednesday.

With the help of service providers, Yves Cazes intends to complete the seeding of his 50 hectares of land this Wednesday.

Far from being fatalistic, the Gers farmer does not spit on the excessive rain that has fallen in the southwest in recent weeks. “It was necessary, because after a dry winter, if there was a dry spring and if there was a dry summer, there was a disaster,” concludes Yves Cazes, who hopes to see corn on land within a few days. This will in fact mean that it will have passed through the drops…

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