Soggy summer ‘cost rural economy £1bn’

Britain’s wettest summer in 100 years cost the rural economy at least £1bn, according to a study by BBC rural affairs show Countryfile.

Record-breaking persistent wet weather in the cold summer has resulted in poor yields from disease-ravaged crops.

Researchers say the loss to agriculture, notwithstanding the extra feed cost for livestock farmers, approaches £600m.

As a result, food price inflation soared by 3.1% in August and shoppers are being warned to expect further prices rises.

A large number of countryside events were cancelled because of gales and flooding, including the CLA Game Fair at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire and Great Yorkshire Show.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has estimated the cost of cancelled shows is more than £240m, although this figure was not included in Countryfile‘s total.

Dairy farmer Gary Rogers, who runs Yorkshire Dales Ice Cream, told researchers his year-on-year profits had fallen by 50%.

His wife Mandy Rogers, who runs a beef herd alongside the dairy, said rising costs and waterlogged fields had damaged hooves and increased vet bills – but the biggest spend was buying cattle feed as it was too wet to let cows out to pasture.

“This year was just a mud-bath really,” Mrs Rogers said. “When they should have been eating grass, they were getting through a bale of silage a day.”

The Met Office has forecast unsettled conditions, including wind and rain, will return to much of the UK this week. Temperatures are also predicted to fall to a daytime average of around 15C (59F).

Summer 2012 weather facts 

  • 2012 was the wettest summer in the UK in 100 years with an average rainfall of 370.7mm over June, July and August

  • August 2012 was the driest of the three summer months, with 109.5mm of rainfall on average

  • Summer 2012 was also the dullest since 1987, with an average of 413 sunshine hours

Courtesy of the Met Office

Read more on this topic

Summer 2012 was wettest for 100 years

Dry weather hampers Western Isles crofters

Philip Case on G+