Word on the Ground by David Piccaver

NO sector in our industry has escaped the awful summer whether it be livestock with feed costs rocketing, the silage and hay of poor nutritional value or arable farmers with the excessive wet, poor light and low heat levels to produce many mediocre crops in terms of yields and quality.

In horticulture, whether edible or ornamental, poor and diseased crops are the problem, providing continuity of supply an enormous challenge.

It is also important for customers and consumers to be aware that the impact of this season will continue to affect crops through the winter.

The packers and prepared food companies have had to source product euro and worldwide.

All this has added additional cost. In the main this has been borne by the above part of the supply chain, which will require careful planning and support from the banks for the 2013 season.

All change on the political front with the Cameron shuffle for the Secretary of State, Minister for Agriculture and Food and the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State.

The past team had very strong ties to the arable and horticultural sectors.

We now have a team very much more focused from the livestock areas, the West Country, Shropshire and Oxfordshire with a smattering of arable interest!

The impact will mean two things – the NFU and others are going to have to re-educate/lobby again over SAWS and press hard to get the Adjudicator bill through, and the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board, all critical matters for horticulture.

It seems interesting this has occurred after the very successful milk protest which has caused a complete turnaround on prices for dairy farmers.

Something the horticultural industry should emulate, collective action in the horticultural sector I regret in my dreams!

We are too independent.