Severe hail storms have wiped out a number of oilseed rape crops in Kent, according to the county’s National Farmers Union chairman, Chris Holder.
Hail stones “as big as golf balls” fell last Sunday across a band approximately one-two miles wide by 10-12 miles long in the Romney Marsh area, Mr Holder said.
“It’s been disastrous, particularly for rape, as pods have suffered severe shedding. Many farmers have reported 80-90% losses, and in some cases it’s up to 100%. In one crop I’ve seen, it’s a job to find a pod that’s still whole.”
He was aware of one farmer who had 600 acres affected and another with 300 acres that had been hit, but was sure there was much more.
“It’s particularly bad as most growers are uninsured against things like this,” he added.
While oilseed rape was worst affected, some cereals had also started to lodge and there were a few reports of barley crops having had ears knocked off, he said. “I’ve even heard reports that one crop of maize had its leaves stripped completely.”
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