Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Carrot shortage fears follow wet autumn

December 23, 2019 by  
Filed under Crops

Widespread flooding and waterlogged fields mean there is a risk of the UK running low on domestic carrot supplies this spring.

Floods last autumn and early winter hit more than half of the UK’s carrot-growing area. Sodden fields continue to prevent growers from being able to put straw down to protect the crop from potential frost damage.

Commercial carrot growers have been affected across northern England and the Midlands – including Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Lancashire. But farmers in East Anglia and Scotland escaped the worst of the weather.

Although carrot harvesting has continued, flooded land has prevented growers from using the machinery and equipment necessary to spread straw. More wet weather or a frost could wipe out large amounts of the UK’s carrot harvest.

Coral Russell, from the British Carrot Growers Association, said: “The flooding has caught a lot of growers out. It has stopped them spreading straw as they usually do at this time of year. They are sitting on a wing and a prayer and hoping we get a dry weather spell.”

She added: “More than 50% of the carrot growing area in the UK has been affected. If we have a frost now or more wet weather then all the carrots that are not covered with straw will get damaged and be unsuited for the market. They’ll be rotten.”

Nottinghamshire carrot grower Mark Strawson said 2019 had generally proved to be an excellent growing season for carrots with both quality and yields above average – until heavy rain from mid-September onwards.

“Unprecedented levels of rainfall have made field operation extremely difficult with very few entirely dry days recorded over an 8-week period. The worst affected areas are the east and west Midlands and Yorkshire, where soils have been at field capacity for several weeks.”

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