I know this may not be a popular view, but the recent heavy downpours have been brilliant. A definite godsend for farmers.
Unfortunately, the rain arrived too late to help the harvest.
Because of the long spell of hot, dry weather, the oil-seed rape and the corn (wheat and barley) ripened early. The combine harvesters started working in the fields two weeks before the usual time and they are still busy in many areas of the country. But the harvest is not great. The yield – the amount of grain produced – is below normal, which means the price of milling (flour) wheat will go up, as well as the price of barley for animal feed.
Farmers are used to occasional poor harvests. But before the rain came last week, desperation was beginning to set in for a different reason. Farmers everywhere in Britain were wondering how they were going to grow enough grass to make hay for animal feed during the winter.
Now they can breathe a little easier – at least for a short time. The grass here in Yorkshire, as elsewhere, is just beginning to grow again.
But the rain we’ve had is not nearly enough. The UK needs much more rain over the next two months, to make sure enough grass grows for cutting in September, or even October. If farmers can make enough hay or silage before the grass stops growing, the winter won’t be as grim as it’s looking now.
I know that isn’t what everyone wants this autumn. Sorry folks – we need it.
I’m off to do my rain dance …