Rainy weather hits crops harvests hard

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POOR harvests are being experienced by farmers because of record wet weather this year.

Farmers across the South Downs are reporting that crops such as wheat have been hit hard.

The frequent spells of heavy rain in recent weeks has also prevented some farmers from beginning their harvest.

And the longer cereal crops are left in the fields the more likely they are to rot or become diseased.

Bill Tyrwhitt-Drake, owner of Bereleigh Estate at East Meon, said: ‘The crops have been disappointing.

‘No-one has cut any wheat yet due to the bad weather.

‘Fungal diseases in wheat have become the biggest problem in recent weeks.

‘Hopefully, next year will be different.’

Farmer Simon Butler, from Selborne, north of Petersfield, said: ‘It’s frustrating but what can you do?

‘People generally don’t understand how difficult it is.

‘If it goes on too long, you start losing crop and therefore, revenue.

‘It has been a difficult harvest. The worry is that we should be starting to plant next year’s crop by the end of August, it all has a knock-on effect.’

Poor harvests could eventually have a knock-on effect to the price of bread and animal feed as the amount of crops produced decreases, hitting supplies to the market place.

However, not all crops have been badly affected. Oats and spring beans have flourished in the wet weather – which is more akin to Scotland.