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Wet weather impacting vegetable prices & quality

flooded vegetable field

Had enough of it raining? So have our farmers & vegetable crops!

This winter has been one of the wettest in decades in the UK. It follows a blistering hot summer and warm autumn which caused their own problems for farmers.  In many areas of the country farms are flooded and even in areas which aren't actually under water, the ground is sodden and has been impossible to prepare, plant, fertilise or harvest crops as usual.

What has the impact of this been on our farmers and vegetable crops?

It has been reported that around 25% less crops have been planted than usual in the UK this winter season. This has been due to a multitude of factors but primarily the wet weather meaning fields have been flooded or too wet to work. The wet autumn meant a lot of crops in ground were ruined - carrots, parsnips and other winter root crops have rotted in ground as they were unable to be lifted from waterlogged soils.  For those crops that have been harvested both the yield and quality have been much lower than usual. Crops have often been left too long in wet soils as farmers were unable to get harvesting equipment on to their fields.  In addition the poor growing conditions and low light levels through out the autumn and winter has meant crops simply haven't grown as well as usual.

This has led to poor harvests across the UK and shortages for some vegetables the UK specialises in such as cauliflowers and potatoes. One of the main wholesalers in Cornwall had several weeks where they were unable to get hold of any cauliflower in the UK and were having to import them from Europe at £2 per head! Reports are that imported cauliflower have been regularly at 3 times the usual price this winter. 

Potatoes are one of the UK's main vegetable crops and is one of the worst affected crops. This season has resulted in the lowest potato crop ever recorded in the UK.  Here in Cornwall potato growing is a mainstay for many vegetable farmers. The wet weather means potatoes have been left to rot in the ground, and those that have been lifted are of lower quality and haven't stored as well as usual.

Shortages of seed and rising seed prices have also impacted the planting this spring. Many growers are saying they simply can't get hold of the seeds they need. Our smaller organic growers are particularly struggling to get hold of the seeds they need which has meant high costs and less crops in the ground for the coming year.

 

To read more on how the weather is impact farming and vegetable growers in the UK:

Fruitnet.com - Extreme weather taking it's toll on vegetables

https://www.yourweather.co.uk/news/trending/wet-winter-floods-destroyed-many-farm-crops-and-broke-british-records.html

https://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/further-wet-weather-raises-fears-of-harvest-catastrophe

https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/fruit-and-veg/more-imported-vegetables-likely-as-flooding-hits-key-growing-areas/686854.article

 

 

 

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