Farming businesses across the country have been affected by the prolonged wet weather, with UK rainfall levels 98% higher than last year.
Many farmers are unable to finish maize and root crop harvesting and are experiencing severe delays to drilling winter cereals. Livestock farmers have also been forced to bring in livestock weeks earlier than usual, leading to a longer winter period.
The NFU is calling on Defra and its agencies to take a “common sense approach” to encourage flexibility and ease cash flow problems. It has asked the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to ensure affected farmers receive their BPS payments as soon as possible once the payment window opens next month. In addition, the trade association has asked the RPA to regard this weather event as “force majeure” for farmers in agri-environment schemes. It is also urging agreement holders to contact the RPA if they are prevented from complying with their scheme obligations as a result of continued weather pressures.
The NFU has also written to Defra farming minister George Eustice to ask for an extension to the restrictions associated with the disposal, storage and use of Flurtamone and Chlorothalonil. As drilling is delayed, it is likely that some crops will not be drilled to allow applications which would normally have taken place by 20 May. The trade association has asked that the dates for sale and supply, and disposal, storage and use, are extended by two months to 20 January 2020 and 20 July 2020 respectively.