Perfect storm of costs and circumstances
In the weekly Word the on Ground column Roger Welberry talks about how farmers are ploughing crops due to lack of demand, sales and labour shortages.
Dark clouds are on the horizon in the form of added costs and circumstances that have happened over the last year.
Firstly, the price of diesel. Most agricultural machines operate on red diesel which has doubled in cost.
Likewise, fertiliser and chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, many of which are oil-based, have also gone up massively.
There is an ongoing problem of labour shortages. There is not enough labour for vegetable, flower and fruit harvesting and also pack houses.
Wages have risen and there seems to be no end in site to price increases.
This leads to the subject of so-called food shortages. I can tell you that potato growers are struggling to sell a 25 kilo bag (four stone in old money) at £5 a bag.
Vegetable growers have been rotavating in full crops of cauliflowers, cabbage, sprouts and kale because of lack of demand and sales and also harvesting staff.
A farmer who feeds livestock had 1,000 tonnes of carrots for stock feed. Another grower will rotavate in a full crop of 30 acres of carrots for the same reason. Likewise leeks - a lot of them will be chopped in this season.
And a red beet grower is composting 500 tonnes of harvested red beet through lack of sales.
We are urged to grow more because of Brexit, food policy and global tension but farmers and growers must ask “why?” when we cannot sell what we have got now.
Are we eating enough British-grown produce in its more natural state, fresh from the land?
Help our local farmers and growers, buy local where you can and have a lovely summer.