The year 2022 was the hottest ever recorded in the Ariège, and this can be seen in the state of agricultural production. The drought is drying out the fields and complicating the work of farmers, for whom hay is a rare and expensive commodity.
Difficult to find and expensive to buy, hay has become a precious resource for farmers. “I have ordered hay which will be delivered to me at 220 euros per tonne, almost double the usual price. I will use one tonne every two days,” explains Sophie Alzieu, a farmer in Varilhes (Ariège). Her farm is usually self-sufficient, but that was before the drought, which halved yields.
30 to 40% losses
The weather affected all farming activities. On a 450-hectare cereal farm, the fields are still virtually dry. “At this time of year, the land is waterlogged and you wouldn’t go in without boots and shoes. It’s relatively dry for January,” says producer Alexandre Toulis. The Chamber of Agriculture estimates that the agricultural losses due to drought in 2022 will be 30-40%.