The impact of the rain in the south-west of England could hit next year’s crops severely.

“The land is just saturated,” said Archie Montgomery of North Cadbury, Somerset. “What’s left is mostly still salvageable, but it’s starting to grow out. And anything we do on our soils now is impacting on next year’s yields.”

Although grass silage yields had been good, and the cows were milking well, fields were getting badly poached, said Mr Montgomery. “We’re seriously wondering about bringing the cows in at night but we haven’t got enough straw.”

flood floods

Straw availability was incredibly tight because of the wet weather, and quality was generally appalling, he added.

Potato crops were also under threat. “It’s pretty dire,” said Andrew Symonds of Lincoms Farm, Worcestershire. Crops had gone flat and milling quality had been lost. “It has all gone in the shed in one pile – it’s just a question of getting it off the field now,” he added.

In Devon, Troy Stuart had salvaged wheat at 34% moisture, just to get it into the barn. “Yields have been reasonable, but quality is rubbish,” he said.

Richard Brown still had 73ha (180 acres) of wheat to cut near Newbury, Berkshire, which had gone flat and sprouted. Combining at 27% moisture, it was costing £75/acre to dry.

“We’ve taken the decision not to sow much winter corn this year,” he said. “We’ve struggled all summer. We can’t be bothered to struggle all autumn as well.” Instead, he was going to drill more spring barley.

South West under water

  • Wheat harvested at 34% moisture
  • Drying costs £75/acre
  • High-quality crops ruined