During the heat wave, Israel’s cows are suffering just as much as we are. As a result, their milk production has dropped some 20%. “It’s like walking around in a leather jacket in summer,” explained Gilad Kramer, owner of a dairy in Yavne’el. He noted that dairy farmers are attempting to cool down the animals by misting them with water and using fans.
According to Kramer, the extreme heat has made it harder for the cows to conceive during the summer, thus affecting their milk production and growth of the herd.
Farmers’ Association President Dubi Amitai expressed his concern Thursday morning that the quantity of water allotted to farmers will not last until the end of the season. Amitai believes this will cause significant damage and will result in a cow shortage during the coming season.
The heat wave has also caused some fruits to ripen before their time. Because there is a serious shortage in foreign workers to pick the fruit, thousands of tons have been tossed.
“Farmers in the State of Israel are in need of additional water for farming and foreign workers in order to finish out the season,” Amitai told Ynet. “I call upon the Israeli government and the Agriculture Ministry to take the farmers’ situation into consideration.”
The Farmers’ Association reported that the main fruits affected by the heat wave are peaches, plums, grapes, nectarines, and watermelons. A shortage of these fruits is likely.
Hundreds of thousands of chickens have also died from the heat in recent days. Kanat Insurance, which insures farming against acts of nature, reported that it recently received more than 100 reports of death in chicken coops.
The company estimated that the extreme heat is likely to continue and additional cases will likely be fired, driving compensation for damages into the millions of shekels.
According to Kanat CEO David Ginzberg, most of the damage to poultry thus has been to large adult birds towards the last stages before going to market after significant investment from the grower. At this stage, poultry are particularly sensitive to heat and have a difficult time cooling themselves.