Monday, July 30, 2007

Flooding Aftermath - the Farming Impact

The torrential rains that visited England over the past 2 months have done more than damage homes and businesses in flooded towns, they've wreaked havoc with farmers and everyone downstream from them in the food supply chain. All you need to do is imagine this (and the corresponding European rains and heat wave) happening on a regular basis in order to understand how enormous the impact of extreme rainfall during the growing season could be on the lives of our British friends.

Entire crops have been wiped out, and other farms only expect to be able to harvest around 40% of normal. Additionally, the loss of hay and silage means shortages of food for livestock owners, who face having to sell all of their animals because they will not be able to feed them over the winter.

Crops which have been especially badly affected include potatoes, peas, broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, and other field vegetables.

Dairy farmers have also had to throw away large quantities of milk due to tankers being unable to collect it due to flooded roads.

And because of extreme weather on the European continent - flooding in western Europe, and a heatwave in south-eatern Europe - means that there is likely to be difficulty in making up for crop losses via imports.

Short supplies of food items are predicted, as well as steeply rising costs for those items on store shelves. This at a time when fuel prices are also rising to record levels. Time for some belt-tightening.

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