As hosepipe bans are announced across the UK following the driest July in England since 1935, and fears over a drought to come, farmers are issuing a warning over crops such as potatoes, onions, carrots and lettuce.

Temperature records were broken in July, with the thermometer rising to 40.2C on 19 July in Surrey, smashing the previous record of 38.7C.

Meanwhile, rainfall is down by a whopping 76 per cent and forecasters fear further periods of hot, dry weather in August.

Crops already in the ground are being affected by the conditions, and the lack of rain is likely to lead to smaller yields over the next few months.

In addition, farmers are planting less for future harvesting of winter vegetables, which is not just to do with the weather, but also because of the rising costs of production.

As a spokesman for the National Farmers Union (NFU) commented, water has become a “critical issue”, adding that potato, carrot and onion yields are likely to be well below average.

He said that the impacts of this prolonged spell of dry weather are hugely challenging for many farms across the country and causing concern for all farming sectors.

According to the NFU, the situation highlights the urgent need for the Government and its agencies to plan better for and manage the UK’s water resources, which would help build resilience into the farming sector and provide investment opportunities for irrigation equipment and to build more on-farm reservoirs.

In the interim, the Environment Agency has launched measures to support flexible abstraction, which could give some farmers the ability to trade volumes of water with other farmers.

For advice on related matters, contact Smailes Goldie today.

Posted in Agriculture.