Britain’s latest weather could lead to vegetable shortage

Britain’s topsy-turvy weather could led to a broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower shortage, experts have warned.

While it’s great news for greens-hating children, farmers say supermarket shelves could be stripped bare for weeks following a poor harvest.

Home grown courgettes are also affected with planting set back by a month following heavy rain and snow.

Greville Richards boss of Southern England Farms which has 7,500 acres devoted to vegetables in Leedstown, Cornwall said: “We have had months of heavy rain with very few dry days. The ground has not had a chance to recover.

“Cauliflowers went in late and the spring greens were disastrous.”

The business responsible for almost half the country’s supply of green vegetables warned of a three week shortage of broccoli this summer.

Mr Richards said: “Spanish growers can’t fill the gaps because when it gets to June and July it is too hot there.”

The problems were being felt in the other broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower growing areas with Lincolnshire suffering and Scotland particularly badly hit.

Months of wet and cold weather are also having an impact on the dairy sector with farmers facing extra costs for straw bedding to keep animals inside for longer than usual.

Increased demand and a shortage of straw has led to the price more than doubling from £70 a tonne to £150.

Dairy farmer Richard Pennington of Treore Farm, near Port Isaac, North Cornwall said: “We had to get cattle in earlier than usual and they have stayed in longer.”

He added home produced winter feed had also run out so farmers were having to fork out for expensive imported cereal with costs rising because of a weak pound.

Earlier this month Jersey Royal potato farmers reported being up to a month behind with their planting after the Beast from the East set the harvest back by three weeks.

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