Poll: Are you worried about a lack of rain on your farm?

Following one of the wettest winters on record, many farms have not seen significant rainfall for more than a month, prompting concerns about drought conditions.

Essex grower Guy Smith said his farm in St Osyth, near Clacton, which had once held the Guinness World Record for the driest place in Britain, had received 2mm of rainfall on Sunday (12 April).

Former NFU deputy president Mr Smith said it was his farm’s wettest day in more than five weeks. Other farmers responded to his tweet, saying he was lucky to have had any rain at all.

See also: Crop Watch: Winter barley disease and Plasticine-like soils

After the wet autumn scuppered cereal drilling plans for hundreds of farms, large swathes of arable land were drilled with spring crops in February and March.

Are you worried about a lack of rain on your farm?

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For many, the spring crops have been drilled into seed-beds described as “like concrete”, with barely enough moisture to germinate the seeds.

There does appear to be a split across the country, with farmers in western areas on heavy land less affected than those in eastern counties on light land.

Praying for rain

But Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer Focus writer David Butler, who farms just south of Marlborough, in Wiltshire, is among many now praying for rain.

Mr Butler has posted a photo of a parched field of emerging spring barley on his Twitter page, saying: “We will need some wet stuff in the medium term, or we will be in all sorts of trouble.”

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency had 21 flood alerts in place across central and southern England on Tuesday (14 April) due to groundwater flooding as the chalk aquifers “balance out” from the winter.

The weather forecast does, however, offer some hope for rain-starved fields. From Thursday to Saturday, the Met Office outlook is some patchy light rain in the North and an increasing risk rain and showers in the South.

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