After a Danish research institute noted the protein content of wheat had dropped to the lowest ever, international buyers have shunned the grains, insisting on importing wheat from other European countries instead.
Denmark instituted strict nitrate limits in 1991 to prevent farmers from polluting watercourses with fertilisers, which far from improving the quality of life as intended has sabotaged the nation’s ability to grow a usable crop. The protein content of wheat grown in the nation has fallen from an average of 11 per cent before the ban, to just 8.4 per cent today.
The difference in quality of yield is noticeable even as you cross the border to Germany, with neighbouring crops not affected by the ban continuing the grow strong, and with better harvests. German grains contain a staggering 27 per cent more protein. Danish farmers have complained the government is forcing them to compete with “one hand tied behind our backs”.
The poor quality of Danish wheat has not gone unnoticed by international buyers, who refuse to touch it – or will only buy it at a significant discount over other European grains. TheLocal.dk reports the comments of Jesper Pagh, vice president of agricultural mega-aggregate DLG, which exports European produce abroad. He said: “Previously customers have just ordered a quantity of EU feed wheat, for example a ship with 30,000 tonnes.
“But now we are beginning to hear that customers in Asia for example are ordering a certain quantity of EU grains but along with the order comes the addition ‘Danish excluded’ – in other words, the customers are explicitly insisting on not receiving Danish grains”.
A spokesman for the Danish Agriculture and Food Council said: “The Danish rules mean that we can’t give the grain the amount of fertiliser that the plants actually need. That results in a gradual depletion of the ground’s nitrogen reserves, thus impoverishing the soil. As a consequence, the quality gets lower and lower”.