Farmers warn 'if the rain doesn't come we're really in trouble'

Farmers warn 'if the rain doesn't come we're really in trouble'

From BBC

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Image source, Shaun Whitmore/BBC

The period between January and June this year was the driest in England since 1976, according to the Met Office.

Those dry conditions, which came to a head with last week’s heatwave, are causing serious problems for farmers, with some saying they are losing large swathes of crops as a result.

We asked how they are coping with little rain and record-breaking temperatures.

‘Some of the fruit just cooked’

Image source, Ben Parker/BBC

Ed Youngman, from Red House Farm, in Charsfield, Suffolk, grows blackcurrants which are turned into squash.

“This is probably the earliest we’ve ever started harvesting the blackcurrants,” he says.

Despite the dry weather, he says the “currents have looked good all year” and irrigation “kept them alive and heathy”.

But the famer says: “The heatwave we’ve just experienced cooked some of the varieties on the bushes so the currants didn’t actually ripen they just cooked.”

He estimates he lost 25% to 50% of some varieties, “so that’s had a major impact on yield and quality”.

“It’s been very stressful, we grow seven different varieties on the fam to stagger the harvest, what the heatwave had done was confused some of the later varieties and made them ready early,” he says.

Mr Youngman says he knows of fruit farmers in Norfolk and Essex who have “lost 75% of their varieties” due to the weather.

“We’ll look at this over the winter and look at whether we change the varieties we grow and minimise the risk,

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