England’s farms suffer as one of the wettest winters devastates crops

England’s farms suffer as one of the wettest winters devastates crops

England’s agricultural sector is facing a crisis as one of the wettest winters in decades leads to widespread flooding, destroying thousands of acres of crops and placing significant financial pressure on farmers. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) conference has put flooding at the top of its agenda, with farmers across the country reporting catastrophic losses.

Farmers across England are recounting the toll of an exceptionally wet winter, with Andrew Ward, a Lincolnshire-based arable farmer, revealing the devastating effects on his and nearby farms. Despite his efforts to mitigate the damage, Ward anticipates that yields will be significantly reduced, citing that only about 25% of winter crops were planted due to the high rainfall. The economic fallout is profound, with one farm potentially facing a loss of £70,000 due to flooded lands.

England’s hydrological data shows that only 4 of 139 areas had normal rainfall levels in the 12 months to January 2024. The rest experienced notably to exceptionally high levels, leading to the wettest periods on record for several regions, including the agriculturally rich Kent area.

The NFU conference, held February 20 and 21, highlighted severe problems caused by the floods, with outgoing president Minette Batters and Lincolnshire county vice-chair Henry Moreton sharing firsthand accounts of the flooding’s impact.

The conference also served as a platform for discussions on the need for improved flood management and compensation for farmers, particularly those sacrificing their land to protect surrounding communities from flooding.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s attendance at the NFU conference brought these issues to the forefront, with calls for a review of the flood defence grant scheme. While Sunak cited increased flood defense spending and existing support frameworks, the agricultural community continues to seek more concrete solutions and compensation mechanisms.

According to the Guardian, this year’s adverse conditions and the government’s response to flooding and post-Brexit agricultural policies have notably affected farmer support for the Conservative party, with polling data indicating a significant shift away from the Tories among farmers.


1 ‘Our yields are going to be appalling’: one of wettest winters in decades hits England’s farms – The Guardian – February 23, 2024


Commenting rules and guidelines

We value the thoughts and opinions of our readers and welcome healthy discussions on our website. In order to maintain a respectful and positive community, we ask that all commenters follow these rules.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *