June 18 2013 Latest news:
By Marijke Cox, Reporter
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Farmer says if rain continues it could be a difficult harvest
First it was drought, with farmers praying for rain.
Now it has gone to the extremes, with the wet weather starting to take its toll and agricultural experts warning of the potentially disastrous impacts it could have on certain crops.
Farmer Kevin Attwood, of Downe Court Farm in Doddington, said while the rain is currently not doing a great deal of harm to arable crops, soft fruits such as strawberries and cherries are bearing the brunt.
“If they’re not under a polytunnel it’s disastrous,” he said.
“The cherries will be split by the rain, the strawberries are bruised and there’s the risk of fungal moulds.”
He said the constant switch from sun to rain would also mean a shorter shelf life for strawberries and other soft fruits.
Mr Attwood, who is part of the National Farmers’ Union, said while arable farming, such as wheat and oilseed, is currently unaffected by the rain, if the wet weather continues, in just three weeks time there could be a serious problem.
“We need sun to ripen crops to make grain or oilseed. When it’s ready to cut we need dry weather. If it’s not dry in August then it will be a difficult harvest,” he said.
“At the moment I’m not too worried, but ask me in three weeks if it’s still raining and it might be a different story.”
An NFU spokeswoman said pears were bearing up in the rain, but that some apple types, including Cox’s, were suffering.
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