Tiptree: Weather plays havoc with fruit crops

Fruit growers across the region and the UK are reeling from a series of weather setbacks which are affecting this year’s harvest.

Although most were able to cope with the drought earlier this year, late frosts and a prolonged cold period which prevented pollinating insects from emerging, followed by the current sustained wet spell, have played havoc with their crops.

Chris Newenham, farm director at Tiptree in Essex, home to a major jam factory, said both their stone and soft fruit had been badly hit.

“It’s been the wettest, coldest April, May, June and its looking like July, and it’s affected pollination,” he said. “Yields are down.”

The wet was opening plants up to disease, he said.

“It’s the most difficult season in any of our living memories and collectively, they go back over 70 years here. It’s uncharted territory. They are not the conditions nor is it the year we would ever want to go through again in a hurry,” he said.

“It will have a significant impact on our crops. It’s not a pretty picture this year.”