Farmers across the country are bracing themselves for a hit to their bottom lines due to a ‘double whammy’ wet spring and dry summer.
The unusual weather over the past few weeks – the driest in more than 20 years – has taken its toll on arable and livestock operations, with low yields of poor quality crops expected and limited grass growth hitting silage stocks.
East Midlands farmer Julian Powell, who grows winter wheat and spring barley on sandy land, told Farmers Guardian his crops were ‘dying off’.
“We are going to have very poor quality grain”, he said.
“The only saving factor is it is probably country-wide and everybody will be in the same boat. My agronomist tells me crops do not look better on the strong land.
“Things are worse because we had it so wet in the spring. That is why the spring barley is taking the worst hit, because it was late in.
“When you have worked all year, it is disheartening to see.”
Nicholas Anderson, a mixed farmer from North Yorkshire, has been having similar struggles with his wheat crop and his ground is parched.
He said: “It has been a bit of a double whammy because a lot of our grassland is on black, peaty land which has been wet all spring, so it never got growing then and now it is too hot.
“We are going to be short of fodder. We have got 90 bales of silage when we were hoping to have about 300.
“If this weather continues we will be looking for silage in the mid-winter along with a lot of other people.”
The tinder dry conditions have also put the UK countryside at high risk of ‘devastating’ fires, according to NFU Mutual.
The rural insurer has said the heat has the potential to start grassland and arable crop fires which could put lives at risk and cost farmers millions of pounds in losses.
Its warning follows a huge blaze on Saddleworth Moor which forced the evacuation of more than 50 homes and livestock which grazed the area.
Greater Manchester Police said farmers were helping the fire service to tackle the 20-foot flames.