Home Business News Record 18 month rainfall damages farmers crops reducing food production

Record 18 month rainfall damages farmers crops reducing food production

by LLB staff reporter
10th Apr 24 11:51 am

Farming groups have said that record breaking rain has reduced the amount of food being produced in the UK and livestock have been affected as fields have been submerged in water since last autumn.

The Met Office has said the last 18 months has been very wet as between October 2002 and March 2024 a total of 1,695.9mm of rain has fallen.

This is the highest amount of rain recorded in history since data collecting by the Met Office started in 1836.

Since November wheat production is down 15% which has not been seen since 2020, oilseed raps is down 28% which is the largest reduction since the 80s and barley has fallen to 22% at 355,000 hectares not seen 202.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) said, “The unfavourable weather is putting the yield at risk of being significantly reduced.”

David Eudall, the board’s economics and analysis director, said, “We may see wheat production fall from about 14m tonnes to about 10m tonnes or less, so wheat processors, flour millers and bakers will be looking to import greater quantities of wheat this season for production into bread and animal feed.

“If we see continued lower production from poor weather, stubborn costs (eg fertiliser) and unprofitable prices, we will continually need more imports and further expose our market for a staple product in bread to the world trade.”

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) vice-president, Rachel Hallos, said, “People should be in no doubt about the immense pressure UK farm businesses are under thanks to this unprecedented and constant rain.

“It’s no exaggeration to say a crisis is building. While farmers are bearing the brunt of it now, consumers may well see the effects through the year as produce simply doesn’t leave the farm gate.

“Combined with input costs which have been soaring for two years, the awful impact of this extreme weather on farmers cannot be overestimated. I have real worries for not just the financial situation of many NFU members, but also the impact this is having on them personally.”

The farming minister, Mark Spencer, said: “I know how difficult this winter has been for farmers, with extreme weather such as Storm Henk having a devastating impact on both cropping and grazing, as well as damaging property and equipment.

“The farming recovery fund will support farmers who suffered uninsurable damage with grants of up to £25,000, and sits alongside broader support in our farming schemes to improve flood resilience.”

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