THE GOVERNMENT has identified what it sees as the threats and opportunities for farming likely to arise from climate change over the next few years.

At a briefing on Wed (Feb 9), DEFRA ministers said one of the most serious threats was the increased frequency and extent of storms which would lead to river flooding.

Increased heat stress in farm livestock was also possible which would have implications for milk yield, herd fertility and general welfare.

The government has also suggested that increased rainfall could reduce the time available for autumn cultivations and also restrict autumn grazing on wetter soils.

On the positive side the government said there would be a number of opportunities coming with climate change.

Increased winter temperatures would allow earlier sowings and plantings and increase the potential growing season.

Higher temperatures might also make it possible to grow new crops or for regions of the UK to grow traditional crops which have hitherto been restricted by climate.

More severe climate change effects in other parts of the world could also give UK farmers a competitive edge for some crops.

*For more detail on how climate change could affect UK farming see FARMERS WEEKLY out on Fri (Feb 11).