by ANDREW BROOKES andrew.brookes@jpress.co.uk

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SOUTH Lincolnshire is still officially in a drought despite wet weather over the past few days.

The Environment Agency has said that rainfall has helped to ease the problems, but has still not taken us out of the drought and there are still fears that the long-lasting impact of the dry Spring will drive up food prices.

Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency, said: “The wetter weather has helped to lessen impacts on the environment this week. However, after months of little rain, the recent unsettled weather does not mean the drought or risk of drought is over.

“Without further sustained rainfall, river flows will quickly drop again and our teams remain on alert to respond to the environmental impacts of drought.

“The Environment Agency is working with farmers and other abstractors to identify ways of making the water that is available go further.

“Our role is to balance the water needs of people, businesses and the environment and it’s important that we all use water wisely at all times of the year, especially during dry periods.”

Anglian Water says its supplies are good and a hosepipe ban will not be needed.

Long term forecasts suggest the weather will continue to be unsettled for the next month and the NFU says it does not expect to get the amount of rain needed.

An NFU statement said: “An NFU survey from late May survey indicates the very poor growing conditions, particularly in the East, could lead to an English average wheat yield in 2011 14 per cent below the five-year average. Results also suggested oilseed rape yield nine per cent below five year average.

“In terms of future planning for drier summers/climate change, top priorities must include ensuring that there is an appropriate allocation of water available for food production. Also, farmers and growers must have the support to access skills and capital for optimal water use and management on-farm.”