MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARTYN F. CHILLMAID / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A large part of continental Europe was affected by a severe drought in summer 2015 due to a combination of low rainfall and very high temperatures. Water abstraction restrictions were in place in 70 French departments in early August, which enforced a complete water abstraction ban for all non-priority uses, including irrigation. Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are often spray irrigated and the vegetation stress induced by excessive heat and soil water drought led to lower crop yields. Sunflowers are mainly grown for oil and without water the seeds do not develop properly. France reported a dip in production in 2015 as the country's sunflower harvest dropped 17% to 1.29 million tonnes, according to Eurostat. Photographed in Poitou-Charentes, France.
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