Ruhstorf an der Rott (Germany)
A research farm in Lower Bavaria began harvesting peanuts this week that were planted over the summer as part of an effort to study climate change.
It is an effort to study climate change by Bavaria’s State Institute for Agriculture (LfL).
The peanut farming project was launched in response to increasing weather extremes, even in relatively temperate southern Germany.
Heat and prolonged drought are seen as looming challenges for agriculture in Bavaria.
The state-funded institute is experimenting with growing drought-resistant plants in Bavaria, including peanuts as well as sesame, mung and black-eyed peas.
Because of climate change, farmers in Bavaria are likely to have a hard time in the future with current staple crops such as corn, wheat, cucumber or potatoes.
This is according to LfL agricultural engineer Klaus Fleißner.
“Peanut plants sent deep taproots into the soil which reach a depth of up to 2 metres just four weeks after sowing.
Such deep roots can still reach water even if the soil dries out from heat and a lack of rain.
The harvest so far has varied depending on the peanut variety”, said Fleißner, who is leading the project.
Some peanuts have yielded strong crops, while others less so.
To find out which varieties are suitable for the area, he said, peanuts are planted over the course of at least three summers.
The planting is done in order to expose the crops to different weather conditions and planted in different soils.
The weather has been difficult this summer, with a hot drought followed by a lengthy wet and cool period, then heat again.
“The plants weathered it well,’’ Fleißner said.