Weather snapshot

    Weather snapshot

    National snapshot of the affect of the recent wet weather on British Farming.

    According to Met Office figures:

    • The monthly rainfall last month passed the record 120.3mm set in 2000, making it the wettest April since records began.
    • In addition, temperatures across the UK in April were the lowest in 23 years.

    So how has this affected British Agriculture?

    We asked our agribusiness team, who are located around the England, Wales and Scotland to give us a quick snap shot of the progress of the key spring farming operations and an overview of crop conditions. View a graph of the snapshot of progress after the wet weather.

    We found that (in mid May):

    • most of spring cereals and beans are now planted but the getting peas drilled has been more of a struggle.
    • only around quarter of spring fertiliser (cereal & grassland) had been completed.
    • Grass silaging was about half completed.
    • T1 spray application was behind and 77% of respondents expected a significant proportion of farmers to change their approach to flag leaf and ear sprays on wheat.

    In addition:

    • Potatoes and sugar beet have been worst hit with several reports of planting well behind schedule, slow emergence/growth of those already planted and worries about the implications for crop disease.
    • In the livestock sector – around 55% of respondents reported that a significant proportion of cattle in their area were rehoused after turnout with just over a quarter reporting that mopst cattle were still not turned out.
    • Our survey suggests that increased winter feeding costs are going to affect a significant proportion of dairy farmers – 50% of respondents report that a significant proportion of dairy herds in their area were still on winter rations.

    So how has this all left the general condition of crops? This graph illustrates the results of our survey

    • Around three quarters of cereals were reported as in good or better condition although 15% (tending to be spring crops) were reported to be in poor condition.
    • Oilseed rape has fared better with 85% of crops being in good condition and the remainder in excellent condition.
    • The hardest hit crops are peas, potatoes, sugar beet and maize where the prolonged bad weather hit at a crucial time.
    • Grassland also appears to have been significantly affected with no crops reported to be in excellent condition, less than 40% appear to be in good condition with the remainder having been hit hard and reported to be in poor condition. This suggests that winter forage stocks may come under pressure.

    Key contacts

    Andrew Wraith

    Andrew Wraith

    Food & Farming

    Savills Lincoln

    +44 (0) 1522 508 973

    +44 (0) 1522 508 973