This year's persistent drought has led to a substantial rise in hay imports into Switzerland. Between January and September, farmers imported more hay than an entire year’s worth since 1995.
On Friday, the agricultural information service (LID) reported hay imports of 179,800 tonnes during the first nine months of the year. This increase in reliance on foreign hay is due to persistent drought that has slowed grass growth and made fodder a scarce commodity, according to LID.
Nine-month hay import figures since 1995:
The figures obtained from customs authorities reveal that most of the imports came from neighbouring countries. The largest deliveries came from France (82,918 tonnes) and Germany (61,828 tonnes). These two countries were responsible for 80% of the total hay imports.
Heatwaves in August, led to two Swiss cantons (Vaud and St Gallen) requesting military helicopters to transport water to thirsty cows in remote locations. Farmers had also requested a moratorium on import duties on hay (CHF3 per 100 kilos) to avoid having to dip into their own winter reserves.