Farms and crofts across Scotland have been battered by 70mph winds, heavy rain and major flooding, with farmers describing the impact as “really awful”.
Shocking photos and videos have been posted on social media platforms of farmsteads and fields submerged under water.
A rare red warning of danger to life, issued by the Met Office, covering parts of the east of Scotland, including Brechin, Forfar and Kirriemuir, came into force from 6pm on Thursday (19 October) through to midday on Friday (20 October).
On Thursday afternoon, a 57-year-old woman died after being swept into a river in Angus, while hundreds of homes in the Scottish region were being evacuated.
NFU Scotland told Farmers Weekly it was using its network of local offices and regional managers to record problems and incidents centrally.
A spokesperson said: “With the red and amber warnings issued well in advance, we expect that many farmers will have made provision as best they can for combatting the exceptional winds and rainfall.
“We know that under amber warning there has been flooding, loss of power in some areas, road closures, some structural damage and trees down, and we know from past experience that farmers will rally round and assist their communities at this challenging time.
“However, safety must remain paramount and we are already aware of the tragic loss of a life during yesterday’s storms.”
Arable farmer Amy Geddes, of Wester Braikie Farms, near Arbroath, Angus, said the reports on NFU Scotland’s eastern Scotland WhatsApp group were “awful” and “heartbreaking”.
She told Farmers Weekly: “Farmers knew Storm Babet was coming. Unfortunately, we are talking about 5m of water after the River Esk burst its banks in Brechin; the flood walls are only about 3.8m high.
“There are potato stores along the river area. They will be severely flooded by now, which is not good.
“We have seen some terrible reports from farmers across Angus and into Perthshire. One poultry farmer is dealing with horrendous flooding in the chicken sheds.
“Farms have lost entire crops. The Southesk Estate in Angus will be absolutely devastated. Most of the estate down there will be completely inundated. People have described the flooding as unprecedented.”
In comparison, Mrs Geddes said her own farm had suffered only minor flooding damage, due to its higher location, 80m above sea level. One potato field is soaking, but she hopes it will dry out enough to allow the crop to be harvested.
Angus farmer Fleur Baxter has posted videos on X showing major flooding of fields and roads leading into her farm.
Ms Baxter said conditions were “horrendous” and there is no phone signal or wi-fi in her area.
Out with the boys to find a signal. No 3G/4G /WiFi or power (obviously) at home. Ironically no after either!!! 🙄🤔
Horrendous conditions/ flooding..
Still torrential rain.#Angus
— Fleur (@fleurrbie) October 20, 2023
Rsabi launches £100,000 fund for flood-hit farmers
Scottish farming charity Rsabi has launched a £100,000 Flooding Crisis Fund aimed at helping Scottish farming and crofting families who have been seriously affected by recent flooding.
Payments of up to £1,000 per farming-family business are available for those who have experienced greatest loss as a result of the extreme rainfall and flooding. For further details, visit www.rsabi.org.uk.
The charity is also encouraging anyone who has lost vital supplies needed to feed and bed livestock through the coming winter to email email@example.com.