In November 2019, Quentin Le Guillous came to block the Paris ring road with his tractor. A demonstration orchestrated by the FNSEA union, associated with Young Farmers (JA), to put pressure on the government and limit areas not treated with pesticides around homes. He then evoked the blues of farmers, eager to continue using glyphosate or other phytosanitary products on their farms.
At the start of 2021, the tone is different. “With the rise in the price of cereals, morale has improved”, says Mr. Le Guillous, who cultivates 170 hectares of field crops in Saint-Lubin-de-la-Haye (Eure-et-Loir). However, the year 2020, this thirty-something, secretary general of the JA Ile-de-France, qualifies it as ” not terrible “. The harvests were cut off by the lack of rain in the spring. “Overall, we have lost 20% on returns”, he said. Soft wheat, durum wheat, barley, corn, rapeseed also suffered. Worse, his harvest of dry peas for birds, a new crop, is showing losses of 70%.
Cushion the shock
But the rise in grain prices helped cushion the shock. “We are not far from compensating for the loss and in wheat we are doing better”, adds Mr. Le Guillous, who sold his wheat in three stages, first at 160, then at 170 and finally at 190 euros per tonne. All his hopes are now on the 2021 harvest, hoping that this time, yield and price are there.
“Despite the cold snap at -10 ° C, the plain is beautiful for now”, he notes. This year, he added field beans to his rotation. And planted grass on the edge of his fields, over a width of 5 meters, a distance finally set for the area where no phytosanitary products were treated. He hopes to sell it to a neighbor breeder to reduce the cost of seeds. The young father also takes care of the diversification project newly launched by his wife: a pasta production under the Patatras brand. Made with homemade durum wheat, of course.