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UK - Flooding making carrot harvest very challenging

The cold weather and persistent heavy rain have been causing problems for UK growers for months now, most of the vegetable production is under pressure.

Many regions are flooded including Newark, Nottingham, where FreshGro is based. “It is very difficult; we are struggling due to the flooding,” explains Alan Hunt from the company. “We grow in different areas, some fields are flooded but not all.”

FreshGro is still harvesting but it is challenging even where they can get into the fields the wet brings quality issues and labor and transport costs are higher.

“There is a lot more soil on the carrots, around 25% so it takes longer to grade them and whereas before we would use two wagons to bring them in, we now need three. We are using more labor and working longer hours. We will most likely have to leave some crop in the ground as well.”

It is not all bad news as they still able to fill orders but prices are pre-arranged so profits will be down.

This wet season has come off the back of last year’s drought and Alan fears that if it goes from very wet to another drought in the summer the situation will be very bad.

“We have not drilled all the new crop yet, so if it comes to a drought situation yields will be low next season. At the moment we are coping, if it dries up soon we will be ok. It is not a disaster yet, but the forecast for the next two weeks is for sunshine and rain, mostly rain.”

Other areas such as Suffolk and Scotland have fared better.

“We may have to bring some carrots in from Scotland, but the transport is expensive. We don’t want to end the season early as imports from abroad will be more expensive.”

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