Farmers are to hold a ‘drought’ summit’ with government officials on Wednesday as Britain’s food supply comes under threat due to the driest start to summer since records began.
Farming leaders will meet with representatives from Defra, the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and farming charities RABI and Farming Community Network to discuss what can be done to help mitigate the impact of the ongoing heatwave.
The lack of significant rainfall in many areas since the end of May has resulted in tinderbox conditions, severely reducing grass growth and depleting yields for crops including wheat, potatoes, carrots and onions.
— Scott From Scotland (@ScottDuncanWX) July 24, 2018
Dairy farmers are sending milking cows to slaughter as the cost of feeding them soars.
For livestock farmers the lack of rain means animals can’t just be put out to pasture as usual.
“We’re breaking into winter stocks, that’s the frightening thing,” says a farmer based in Cardiff, Wales.
Meat and milk producers, like fruit and vegetable growers, say it is having a “crippling impact”.
Wholesale prices have soared in recent weeks.
— Juliet Dunlop (@julietdunlop) August 1, 2018
Many areas of the country experienced heavy rain over the last few days, but unfortunately those hit and miss storms have done little to mitigated the issue of a lack of water and lack of forage and feed.
“This unprecedented spell of weather really should be a wake-up call for us all,” said National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters. “It’s a timely reminder that we shouldn’t take food production for granted.”