Milk, olive oil, wine: Will drought lead to shortages in France?

The drought is historic until 2022, unless it requires restrictions on access to water. The situation has had a significant impact on the agricultural sector.

A fourth heatwave affecting France in early August 2022 means the drought continues. As a result, about sixty categories have the highest warning level, with restrictions on water use. Drought has a direct impact on crops due to water stress (problematic lack of water).

Historic droughts and heatwaves are shaking French and European agriculture: all production is in a critical situation and farmers are paying a high price for the cumulative effects of historically dry winters, historically hot springs and historically hot streams. “, warned FNSEA in an Aug. 8 post on its website.

If the entire agricultural world is affected, some foods are of particular concern. Reduced yields can lead to shortages within months. This is especially true of milk.

the milk

In autumn, the price of milk cartons may increase due to shortage. In question, drought, which significantly reduces milk production. A dry month of May coincides with 4 consecutive heat waves. The causal link is not too complicated: to produce milk, cows need food and feel good.

However, with drought, cows face water stress and their feed is more limited. Grasses, for example, are rare, the expanses are “cooked”, at a time of the year when it is the main food of dairy cows on pasture.

As of July 20, year-to-date cumulative production of permanent grasslands was 21% below normal. Persistent droughts as well as heat waves affect grass growth. Conditions worsened in July in most regions, with only central regions experiencing near-normal development “, stated at the end of July Agreste, a statistical monitoring agency for agriculture.

As a result, in such situations, farmers have to dig out planned stocks for the winter and/or part of their livestock.


Potato tubers have a high proportion of water – on average 77%. Potatoes are therefore sensitive to water stress, although this varies between varieties. Dryness means the tubers will be smaller and so will the vegetables as a result. Some will not be effective. This greatly reduces the potential for marketable potatoes.

Potatoes need a lot of water. // Source: Pixabay

Olives (and therefore olive oil)

Olive growers have spoken in various media about the lack of a viable crop this summer. It is related to the behavior of the tree, the olive tree: in case of high heat, it prematurely gets rid of its fruit and closes its leaves to save energy for survival. This is how one Ardèche producer explains, for example, France info That he would lose 80% of his crop this year, was unheard of back home.

This will affect olive oil, which will be superimposed on sunflower oil shortages due to the crisis in Ukraine.


As for grain crops, gooseberry statistics for certain varieties are not very encouraging:

  • Corn: ” Dry and hot growing conditions are detrimental to maize development. Crop area (including seed) will be 90 thousand hectares less than in 2021 and yield
    86.7 cu/ha in 2021 compared to 100.2 cu/ha.
  • Sunflower: The yield potential could be greatly affected by drought: its initial estimate is 22.8 cu/ha, i.e. 4.6 cu/ha less than in 2021. »

Agrest’s report concludes that there is a problem that goes beyond French borders, as it affects all of Europe: ” The outlook for EU summer crop yields has dropped significantly due to continued hot and dry weather. Grain corn, sunflower and soybean yields will be well below the five-year average. »


On the specialized site Vitosphere, the alert has been raised: drought is threatening the vineyards. Some vines, especially younger ones, are withering. On older vines, this is decay (leaf shedding). When they should be growing, the grains are getting smaller.

the vine
The vines may be in very poor condition or produce smaller grapes this summer in 2022. // Source: Pixabay

Poorly irrigated vines lack malic acid, an essential component of wine color and flavor. Faced with a significant loss of natural content in the grapes, producers must compensate with more alcohol during the winemaking process.

Hence water stress can have qualitative and quantitative effects on all crops.

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