Soggy start to farming new year

Crops underwater at Letheringham.

Crops underwater at Letheringham.

Although East Anglia escaped the extreme weather events which have plagued other parts of the country over the last month or so, wet conditions brought some farm activities to a standstill recently.

Mild conditions at the end of last year have brought on crops, but many fields took a soaking this week as more rain fronts moved in. Such conditions are fairly commonplace in the region over the winter months.

National Farmers’ Union regional spokesman Brian Finnerty said: “Thankfully we’ve seen nothing like the flooding experienced in other parts of the country but the combination of exceptionally mild temperatures and wet weather has created challenging conditions for farmers and some ideal conditions for crop pests and diseases.

“Some farmers will have found it too wet to lift sugar beet, plough fields or drill crops, and winter farm work such as hedge cutting will have been delayed.

“The Met Office is forecasting cooler, drier conditions next week, which will hopefully allow fields to start drying out and farmers to get back onto the land to start catching up with the backlog.”