25 March 2020

Rainfall in 2019

In the post we published with the rainfall in 2018 we finished to ask how the year 2019 would end... so it finished well, as we will show you although at some moments we were almost at the edge of disaster.

As usual, we show you rainfall data from our area. These data are very localized (La Alberca de Záncara - Cuenca), but we think that the pattern of rainfall that could be applicable to the central zone of Spain (the northern and southern zones have considerably more rainfall throughout the year). This time we have stored data from the last 20 years, thanks to our great friend José María de la Fuente who has given up her data to us. Ever since I can remember, when we were children or almost since we started writing, we remember José María writing down the rains constantly, and some years have passed, so he has a great archive.

To sum up, we can consider 2019 as a typical year in terms of rainfall, although with some exceptions, one of the reasons is that the harvest was almost lost due to the scarce rainfall until March. In mid-March it rained about 15 mm (litres per square metre) which undoubtedly saved the cereal and legume harvest. Later, at Easter, it rained around 100 mm which certainly produced a good harvest that made the year quite acceptable. In total it was 421 mm which is close to the annual average in the last 20 years (461 mm).

If we look at the rainfall by season, we see that this time the rainiest has been autumn. Normally it is winter, but in 2019 the months of January and February were very dry. As we mentioned before, the spring was quite rainy and saved the harvest. To end the year, the months of November and December were very rainy... the elderly people of our village commented that these months have been months as it used to be, with rain almost every week. This is great; the sowing tasks were complicated even though we prefer to sow with mud instead of dust.

If we focus on the data provided by José María regarding rainfall since 2000, we see that the amount of rain has not decreased very considerably, since the averages remain between 2000's years and 2010's years. The truth is that looking at this data, we are struck that we have a thought: it rains less and less. Maybe the feeling we have is wrongly addressed and we could say, with these data, that the rain’s getting worse even though the amount is the same. There are less and less rainy days and these rains tend to be more torrential (Dana effect, for example) which before the rains were more constant with more rainy days and less amount of rain per day... what do you think about that?

Another indicator that we like to follow periodically is the graph of dammed water in Spain, which is also usually a good reflection of how the rainfall is going nationally. 

The year 2020 has begun with good expectations for rain... we leave the question with which we started the post to be answered next year about the rains of 2020.

We hope it will be a good year in terms of the harvest and especially in terms of health. From here we take this opportunity to send you a lot of encouragement and that together we overcome this serious situation that this harmful covid-19 virus is generating.

Versión en español.

10 March 2020

FIMA 2020

FIMA is always a real party for farmers and especially for lovers of agricultural machinery. The 41st edition closed its doors last 29th of February beating records in its numbers: 237,466 visitors, 1,652 brands exhibited in its 163,500 square meters, 41 technical innovations awarded, more than 3,000 meetings and international gatherings among the exhibiting companies, more than 2,000 attendees to the conferences and parallel activities, nearly 80 nationalities gathered in FIMA 2020... It is without a doubt one of the most important agricultural fairs in Europe. All these numbers make that talking to the exhibitors it is confirmed that it has been one of the best editions.

We were lucky enough to visit the fair for two days and we were able to see most of the stands. The displayed machinery is always over-dimensioned and in many cases out of reach for many Spanish farmers. However, we understand that it is a good place for brands to show all their potential and display their best products. Our feeling was that the stands had fewer machines than in previous years, but were very well selected to have a perfect representation of the brand.

The trend of the use of new technologies is clear chance. Although, in many cases the farmer does not demand so much digitalization because in many cases it becomes complex. Besides, sometimes when the farmer is working with this kind of machines he does not know how to get 100% of its performance or configuration. It is also noted that woody crops are becoming increasingly important in Spain and therefore all related machinery is increasing. Then, there were many exhibitors with sprayers, mulchers, pruning machines and tools, almond and olive harvesters, etc.

As for the stands, we assume that one of the most visited could be John Deere although one of the most impressive, as usual, was the New Holland stand (perhaps this year it was not as spectacular as on other occasions). The stands of Durán Maquinaria Agrícola and Lemken should also be highlighted, as they have improved a lot with respect to previous editions. We also liked the Kubota stand, although they had too many tractors for the square metres occupied and it was crowded.

The sector of loaders and telescopic handlers is also in fashion and we could see a great variety of brands and models. Some of the things that caught our attention was that many manufacturers incorporated mega video screens. At least to us, these screens were almost unnoticed because it they are not focused you look at the machines and not at the screens. The Arbos stand was much more modest when compared to that of FIMA 2018... perhaps more in keeping with the brand's situation in Spain. On the other hand, we could see two virtualised stands... we were talking about the stand of Massey Ferguson and Hardi, who had virtual reality glasses where you could see their products... it is something very new that didn't convince us much but we'll see if the idea takes hold in the future.

In terms of notable developments that caught our attention, we mention the following issues:
Versión en español.