A York farmer has said wet weather in recent months means his takings are down.

David Blacker, an arable farmer at Church Farm, north of York, told PA media weather conditions over recent months were “unprecedented”.

“In my farming life I have never known it be so wet for so long,” he said.

“Those who didn’t plant before autumn have not had an opportunity at all to plant a crop. Normally you get a chance in autumn or spring. There was a window in September, but by October it had gone.”

Mr Blacker, whose main crop over the winter was wheat, said he would normally have 600 to 700 plants per square meter, but this was down to about 300.

He planned to plant 200 hectares in spring with barley or beans but has had to cut this down to five hectares.

“I’ve drawn the line under any profit-making crop. But growing nothing isn’t good for the soil. I have plans to plant a temporary cover crop, just to drag some moisture out of the soil.

“That obviously has a knock-on effect on profit. There’s zero return on that.

“We’ll feel the financial knock-on effects for 18 months, and that’s providing things return to normal.”

Millions of people living in food insecurity and struggling to put food on the table, says campaigner

His concerns come as campaigners, ahead of the government’s second Farm to Fork summit next week, warn that climate change is leading to food price volatility which British households are not equipped to cope with.

Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, Food Foundation executive director Anna Taylor said the “failures” of the current food system were being felt by both farmers and consumers.

“Inflation may be out of the news but a basic food basket remains 25 per cent higher than it was two years ago and wages have not kept pace,” she said.

“The result is eight million adults and three million children living in food insecurity and struggling to put food on the table. Climate change is leading to more price volatility and British households are not equipped to cope.

“But it’s not just citizens who are struggling. So too are farmers. At both ends of our supply chains, the failures of our current food system are felt.

“The Farm to Fork summit should be setting out a visionary agenda for a food system which prevents global heating and provides affordable nourishing food, and ultimately allows farmers and citizens to thrive.”

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The summit, hosted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Downing Street on Tuesday (May 14) to discuss food production and security, comes against a backdrop of challenges for farmers, from an “unprecedented” wet winter leading to harvests being hit, to Brexit trading delays and costs and ongoing high input costs such as fertilisers.

According to the Met Office, 1,695.9mm of rain fell from October 2022 to March 2024, the highest amount for any 18-month period in England.

This has led to farmers’ fields being so waterlogged that they cannot be planted, or too wet for tractors to apply fertilisers, leading to poor crop condition.