France: for beetroot, drought increases damage caused by jaundice

Audio 01:16

A farmer shows a beet leaf infected with beet yellows virus on a farm in Oye-Plage, northern France, August 4, 2020. DENIS CHARLET / AFP

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4 min

The use of fallow land by farmers to feed their livestock is now authorized in some sixty French departments affected by the drought. Because this year, farmers are particularly suffering from the lack of water even in the northern part of France. For beets, drought increases the damage caused by yellows. Reportage.


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Yellow is definitely not Régis Desrumaux's lucky color this year. The drought has destroyed his meadows and the disease has attacked the beets intended to feed his cows. “  I went to see them, but I don't dare go anymore because it saddens me every time. I'm sure I'm going to have at least 30-40% less crop because of the yellows. "

The government plans to re-authorize, conditionally, neonicotinoids to control the aphid vector of the disease. The president of the FDSEA of Oise is happy, as is Damien Brunelle. The vice-president of the Rural Coordination produces sugar beet.

“  This is jaundice. Brittle leaves and then yellow. The impact is still limited here. On the other hand, we see a lot of them on the ground. This is downright drought. We see a big bunch of leaves and then especially huge beets. "

To listen and read also: An unprecedented crisis affects French beet growers

However, irrigating was not really an option. “  We are in Hauts-de-France and still not too well equipped in irrigation or so on crops that can make it profitable. No one would invest in beets today.  "

Because bad returns are unlikely to be offset by prices. “  We are subject to the complete law of world markets. A few years ago, beetroot was the wealth of the farm. There, today, making beets has become a burden. Manufacturing a tonne costs us 28 euros and last year we were paid 20 euros per tonne.  "

Damien Brunelle calls for price regulation. Despite everything, he continues to produce beets to prevent sweets from closing, in the hope of better days.

See also: Drought in France: breeders suffer significant losses

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