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Ed Leahy

BY ED LEAHY

Rain wreaks havoc on Lincolnshire crops

Brassicas worst hit, with fields reduced to quagmires for growers who describe it as "worst rain in 40 years"

Rain wreaks havoc on Lincolnshire crops

Photo courtesy of T.H. Clements

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Brassica growers in Lincolnshire are battling the fallout from a month’s worth of rain falling in a single day.

Farmers across the county are assessing the damage to their crops after the huge downpour last week, with one grower describing it as the worst rain he has seen in 40 years.

A spokesman for the Brassica Growers Association said: “In a normal year we would expect around 50 mm of rain for entire month of June. Last week, crops waiting to be harvested were deluged with up to 80 mm of rain in a single day. 

"Some farms recorded the equivalent of 3 months in a week. This has turned fields into quagmires, creating nightmare conditions for the harvest teams. Staff struggled through mud, up to a foot deep, to harvest crops and fulfil orders”.

“Growers are used to dealing with the weather, but the conditions last week were well outside what we are used to,” explained the Association spokesman.

Harvesting is not the only activity affected, with planting also now at a critical stage for winter and spring 2020 crops, with the heavy rain now impacting future availability.

“There is no doubt that we are seeing much more volatile weather patterns in recent years, which all adds to the demands of growing high quality produce,” said the spokesman.

Lincolnshire brassica grower T.H. Clements is one company suffering the effects of the deluge. Managing director Chris Gedner said: "I’ve never really seen anything like it in Lincolnshire in 40 years, some of the most experienced people here are also saying the same thing."

Gedney paid tribute to the workers harvesting the crop in such wet conditions. “Great acknowledgement to all the people harvesting this product at the moment to keep the retail shelves full, total admiration to you all," he said.

The company reported fieldsmen getting stuck in the mud, and needing two tractors to tow trailers in “lake-like fields”.

TH Clements stated: “Our challenger has been on stand-by to rescue stranded vehicles and we have been digging trenches and pumping water to help with drainage. 

“Irrigation pumps are also hard at work pumping out the full dykes and transferring the water to the dykes with lower water levels. 

“So, when you see fresh vegetables on the shelves, please spare a thought to the challenges being faced by our harvesting teams and machine operators working hard to get all the produce out of the water-logged fields.”

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