Irrigation prospects for 2020 are increasingly concerning, with aquifers in East Anglia falling to near historically low levels, according to the NFU.
Although the situation could change between now and next spring, the Environment Agency (EA) has told the NFU that section 57 restrictions on both surface water and groundwater next year cannot be ruled out.
Paul Hammett, NFU national water resources specialist says: “It’s early to say and far too early for any sense of panic but the evidence shows us what most farmers in the South and East acknowledge already – it is incredibly dry through lack of rainfall and incredibly dry in the soil.”
The East of the country is worst effected where rainfall has been consistently below average since June, he adds.
This means the recharge season is starting later and more winter rainfall will be needed to fill boreholes and reservoirs.
Mr Hammett says: “This is the start of the crucial time in thinking ahead for cropping plans for 2020.
“If we get average winter rainfall we should be okay but farmers need to be building this into their thoughts for 2020 already.”
The NFU and EA have agreed to maintain close contact over the next few months to monitor the situation and the implications it could have for irrigated crop production.