Growers battle ‘worst autumn in memory’

Growers are warning the worst autumn many have ever seen will have significant implications for their own profitability and on the size of the 2013 harvest.

High rainfall levels through the past three months have left many farmers unable to travel on ground, preventing them from drilling winter crops.

The rainfall and slug problems are also having a detrimental effect on those crops which have gone in the ground. Many growers are reporting that crops are failing to emerge and those that have are looking patchy.

Potato growers are also battling horrific conditions in order to lift this year’s crop.

Andrew Watts, NFU combinable crops chairman, said the West Midlands and north of England had been particularly badly affected by the weather.

Growers in south west England were also reporting that they were seriously behind on drilling.

Drier weather over the next few weeks might give growers a window of opportunity, said Mr Watts. However, as the days and weeks passed by, the overall yield potential of the 2013 crops was being diminished.

“It is the worst autumn for 30 years based on my own personal perspective,” he said.

“It is the worst autumn for 30 years based on my own personal perspective.”
Andrew Watts, NFU combinable crops chairman

Phil Gorringe, who farms at Lower Blakemere Farm, Blakemere near Hereford agreed the conditions were as bad as he had ever seen.

“I have never known such saturation. Every field has standing water in it and the heavier ground is ludicrous. It is going to take a considerable amount of the time for the water tables to back away.”

Read more about the problems facing farmers because of the weather in Farmers Weekly out on Friday 26 October.

Drilling progress

An east/west split is emerging with winter cereal drilling progress being hardest hit by the wet weather in the west, according to Farmers Weekly‘s online Drilling Progress Chart.

With nearly 650 entries received so far (23 October), only 15% of drilling was complete in North West England followed by 32% in Northern Ireland.

Help us chart drilling progress, or lack of, across the UK in the coming weeks by submitting updates or see the latest results for your region.

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