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Farmers' crops struggling through lack of sunshine
FARMERS in our region are praying for a change in the weather, as fruit and vegetables struggle to grow in waterlogged fields and with a lack of sunshine.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) says the unseasonably wet and dull weather has affected almost every crop in Yorkshire, from potatoes to strawberries.
Rachel Gillbanks, NFU regional representative, said: “What is unique this year is that it’s not just one crop – it’s across the board.
“One strawberry grower I spoke to near York said he had lost 80 per cent of his crop. We just aren’t getting the sunlight.
“Light levels in June were comparable to what we would expect in January. Even in polytunnels things just aren’t growing.”
“We have crops that are just way, way behind.”
Miss Gillbanks said that although cereal harvests were some way off, the weeks of torrential rain and lack of sunshine was also expected to affect yields. She said: “I think the people who are finding it really hard are the vegetable growers.”
Owen Pearson, who grows seed potatoes on his farm at Huggate, said: “The worst thing is that the soil is saturated and, as with most plants, potatoes don’t grow very well in saturated soil. It’s been a cold spring and things are a long way behind.”
He said farmers throughout the region were “praying” for two or three days of continuous sun and no rain. “It needs three days of sun for all this rain to sink in,” he said.
However, weather forecasts appear to offer no sign of respite for farmers, with heavy rain, showers and grey skies predicted for the rest of the week and into the weekend.