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‘Britain Running Out of Wheat’

Posted by feww on April 6, 2013

Unseasonably cold spring severely affecting Britain’s wheat and vegetable crops

“The last 12 months have been unreal for farmers. Last April we had a drought and talk of a hosepipe ban, then we had to contend with heavy rains and flooding and then the wintery weather, frozen land and snow,” the National Farmers Union (NFU) said.

UK temperatures over the past week fell to among the coldest experienced in April for nearly 100 years, with maximum temperatures barely above the freezing in many parts of the southeast, according to local reports.

At -11.2ºC (11.8 degrees Fahrenheit), the village of Braemar in Scotland, about 90 km west of Aberdeen, on Tuesday, held the joint coldest April weather anywhere in the UK for nearly a century.

The unseasonably cold spring is severely affecting Britain’s wheat and vegetable crops.

“A disastrous 12-month cycle of poor weather has ruined harvests across the UK, costing farmers an estimated £500m, the chief economist of the National Farmers Union (NFU) warned,” said a report.

“The crop damage deals a further blow to Britain’s beleaguered farming industry, which is already reeling from a spate of recent livestock deaths due to the cold weather. To make matters worse, the weather has made planting new crops more difficult and damaged many of the seeds that have been sown in recent weeks.” The report said.

UK is expected to import about 1.5m tons more wheat than it exports this “crop year,” from July 2012 to June 2013, which compares to net exports of 1.6m tons last crop year and 2.2m tons 4 years ago, the report quoted the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) as saying.

Potato plantings are also down from  30,000 hectare this time last year to just 4,000 hectares, as of March end 2013.

The cold weather has also led to a heightened demand for gas, pushing the wholesale price much higher and forcing the government to source emergency deliveries of liquified gas from Qatar.

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