Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Let it rain - or plan for food shortages, warn farmers facing ruined crops - 11th May 2011

Shoppers could face food shortages this summer if it fails to rain in the next fortnight, experts have warned.

Farmers are hoping for rain – and lots of it – to save crops that were planted early to take advantage of the higher than usual temperatures before Easter.

Those crops which rely on shallow and light soil could suffer the most, such as asparagus, shallots, peas and leafy salad plants, according to the respected trade magazine The Grocer.

Potatoes, spring barley and other cereals are also in desperate need of rain.

The hot spell around Easter allowed early planting and fertilising with the potential of higher yields.

But that has been thrown into doubt by the recent dry spell.

The Grocer warned: ‘Supplies of British fruit and vegetables, as well as grains such as wheat, could come under serious pressure if the dry spell continues.’

Robert Oldershaw, a Lincolnshire shallot grower, said: ‘If we don’t see rainfall over the next two to three weeks, the crops will suffer and yields could be down.’

Stephen Barnes, who grows asparagus in Kent, said: ‘We really need it to rain in the next two weeks now.’ Read More