UK food shortage warning as farmers claim harvests are ‘worst since WWII’ | UK | News

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UK food shortage warning as farmers claim harvests are ‘worst since WWII’ | UK | News

Britain could face food shortages as farmers voice concerns about the record rainfall that could bring the first season without a harvest on some farms since the end of the Second World War.

Large areas of farmland remain flooded due to an unusual amount of rain, with 11 storms named since September and the wettest 18 months ever recorded.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has predicted that wheat yields will be down 15 percent, winter barley down 22 percent and oilseed rape down 28 percent – the biggest drop since the 1980s, reports The Telegraph.

Joe Stanley, an arable and livestock farmer at a research farm in Leicestershire, said he and his colleagues were facing the first year without a harvest since the land was first farmed after the war.

He said: “Unless it basically stops raining today and then it becomes nice and sunny and windy, we’re not going to get any crops in this year. That’s a real danger.

“Many farmers will be in the same situation.”

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said that the farmers are also facing the prospect that crops planted during the autumn will not have survived the flooding brought by repeated storms.

It warned that households could feel the effects of low crop yields and reduced lamb numbers, because many lambs have not survived the unseasonably cold temperatures and heavy rainfall.

Rachel Hallos, the NFU vice president said: “It’s no exaggeration to say a crisis is building. While farmers are bearing the brunt of it now, consumers may well see the effects through the year as produce simply doesn’t leave the farm gate.”

She added that the situation was a “growing issue for UK food security”, and welcomed a new fund for farmers affected by flooding.

Mr Stanley added farms were facing “an existential moment” because of the changing climate, which could put many out of business, reducing UK food security.

He continued: “The problem that we’re facing is that weather is becoming so extreme that it is overwhelming our ability as farmers to continue to grow crops at all in some places.”

Mark Spencer, the farming minister, said: “I know how difficult this winter has been for farmers, with extreme weather such as Storm Henk having a devastating impact on both cropping and grazing, as well as damaging property and equipment.

“The Farming Recovery Fund will support farmers who suffered uninsurable damage with grants of up to £25,000, and sits alongside broader support in our farming schemes to improve flood resilience.”

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