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Herefordshire farmer says weekend rainfall created third biggest farm flood since 1968

Ross-on-Wye arable farmer Ally Hunter Blair said his father’s flooding chart, which goes back to 1968, recorded only two bigger floods in its history.  

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Ally Hunter Blair’s farm in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.
Ally Hunter Blair’s farm in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire.
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Herefordshire farmer says weekend rainfall created third biggest farm flood since 1968

Saturated fields are dampening farmers’ spirits and halting drilling as more than one month’s worth of rain fell during the weekend (October 26-27).

 

This was the situation in South Lincolnshire, but other farmers in Herefordshire, Yorkshire and Gloucestershire were also hampered by excessive rains.

 

Concern is that it is too wet to apply fungicides and it is thought to be having an impact.

 

And levels of phoma, one of the main serious autumn diseases in oilseed rape (OSR), are particularly high.

 

Ross-on-Wye arable farmer Ally Hunter Blair said his father’s flooding chart, which goes back to 1968, recorded only two bigger floods in its history.


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One on the same day (October 28) in 1998, and the other in January 2003.

 

“This is the third highest flood since dad arrived here in 1968,” said Mr Hunter Blair, who recorded 38mm of rain in the 24-hours to October 26.

 

“We have managed to get a lot of our drilling done, although it does not look pretty so it will be interesting to see what survives.

 

Flooding

“But there are a lot of people in far worse positions than us. I was chatting to a farmer up the road and he has not drilled an acre yet.”

 

About 150-acres of Mr Hunter Blair’s land is underwater – 50 of which is permanent pasture.

 

“We are on a floodplain so do expect some level of flooding, just not quite this much in October,” he said.

“We have got 15-acres of wheat and about 30-acres of fairly terrible looking OSR under four foot of water. I doubt either will survive this.”

 

The River Wye yesterday (October 27) reached its highest levels since modern recording began in Herefordshire.

 

The Environment Agency said local flooding was due to continue over the next few days, particularly from rivers across western parts of the Midlands, Lincolnshire and south Yorkshire.

 

Southwest flood warnings are in also place for Wednesday (October 30).

 

As Farmers Guardian understands it, very little winter drilling has been completed and farmers are struggling to lift potatoes and sugarbeet, with cereal farmers also falling behind.

 

Thoughts have turned to the fact that many will have to wait until spring.

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