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Effects of summer drought to be felt until spring for UK farmers

Forage production across the country has been hit by the hot weather this summer with production across Scotland, the South of England and the Midlands hardest hit.

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Effect of drought to be felt until spring

Production of fresh forage had been particularly affected, according to a survey from the Andersons Centre.

 

Production

 

Andersons’ Graham Redman said farmers had been tackling this in various ways.

 

“They have taken late cuts, reduced livestock numbers or have been feeding other feed to them,” he said.


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Mr Redman said farmers would be looking carefully at how to get through the winter and some will be finding the drought an issue right through until spring next year.

 

He added farmers may also have reasonable maize or even wholecrop which had been cut as forage.

Andrew Ward, Forage Aid, said there was a lot of straw which had been baled but was still on-farm.

 

“Some will have already found homes for it. Most of it was baled on arable farms; they have probably got more undercover storage.

 

“Other people may be hanging on for a better price.”

 

Hardship

 

Forage Aid had seen an increase in the number of farmers suffering financial hardship, a situation compounded by the weather.

 

As it was still early in the winter, farmers were currently using their stocks but the charity’s co-founder Andrew Ward expected cases would come forward in February.

 

“What ideally the industry wants is a mild winter and a kind early spring,” he said.

 

He added the other issue was straw fires, which were causing ’massive problems’.

 

“There has to be some sick individuals out there to do this," added Mr Ward.

 

"As a livestock farmer, it is hard enough at the moment.”

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