The NFU will host an agricultural drought summit to address the “crippling impact” of the dry, hot weather on farms across the country.
NFU policy experts and commodity board chairmen will meet with representatives from Defra, The Environment Agency, Natural England and other farming organisations to discuss what can be done to help mitigate the impact of the ongoing heatwave.
Many parts of England and Wales haven’t seen any significant rain since the end of May resulting in tinderbox conditions, severely reduced grass growth and depleted yields for some crops.
Areas of concern for the farming industry include:
- Availability of forage for livestock and dairy farmers meaning producers being forced to eat into winter fodder supplies.
- Available water resources for irrigated crops and abstraction restrictions for some farmers.
- Growing conditions for cereals and rain-fed crops and a risk of standing crop fires.
The NFU described farming as the “bedrock” of the largest manufacturing sector, food and drink, which contributes £11bn to the country’s economy and provides 3.8 million jobs.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “The situation on the ground is hugely challenging across all sectors. There could be serious concerns for many farmers if this extended spell of warmer, drier weather continues as the long-range forecast suggests.
“It is vital that we come up with a plan and solutions to the issues that are now emerging across the industry. That’s why the NFU is calling this emergency summit next week in an attempt to look at ways to alleviate the pressures that are building on many farmers and growers.”
The agricultural drought summit will take place on 1 August 2018 at the NFU’s London office.