Farming News - Worst wheat harvest in 35 years a real prospect

Worst wheat harvest in 35 years a real prospect

18 Aug 2020
Frontdesk / Arable

The NFU has told the Guardian that the UK could be facing one of its worst wheat harvests since the 1980s.

“We’ve seen very challenging conditions across the country,” Tom Bradshaw, vice-president of the NFU, and an arable farmer in Essex told the newspaper. “Yields are down and this looks like the lowest harvest in about 30 years. The quality seems variable, but we won’t know what we’re looking at until it is all in.”

In the past week, severe thunderstorms were followed by a mini-heatwave with the longest period of temperatures over 93 degrees F since records began in 1961.

While drier than usual, this spring followed the wettest February ever recorded. Many regions of the UK saw widespread flooding.

Farmers were unable to plant and the growing season was off to a poor start, the newspaper said. Germination was difficult and delayed in many places, Bradshaw said. He has previously described the volatile weather as a "double whammy for farmers".

Yields could be down 30% to 35% across the country and possibly lower in some places, he told the newspaper. That would mean the UK would be a net importer of grain rather than a next exporter.