September 1, 2008

Wet Weather Brings More Farm Misery

WEATHERMEN are predicting more bad news for farmers fretting over fields of soggy wheat.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) said three-quarters of Britain's wheat had yet to be cut after a rainy summer and crops were "vulnerable".

Rising fuel prices have pushed up the price farmers pay to dry grain - giving the arable industry more headaches.

NFU officials said farmers were hoping for an Indian summer so that wet crops could dry before being harvested.

But forecasters could offer few crumbs of comfort - warning of more rain in the coming days.

An NFU spokesman said: "Around 20 to 25% of the national wheat crop has been cut now, and ripening crops that remain are increasingly vulnerable to weather damage to quality, particularly in southern and eastern regions.

"With drying grain much more expensive than previous years due to steep increases in fuel cost, farmers are still hoping for a good long run of dry w eather,

"Ideally this would be moisture content below 15% where drying would not be necessary."

(c) 2008 The Journal - Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.