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Farmers facing 'very difficult time' in long, hot summer

The unusually high temperatures this summer have resulted in ‘a very difficult time’ for farmers.

William Emmett is a farmer and national council representative for the National Farmers’ Union for Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

He owns Hornbuckle Farm in Hawthorn Hill and has more than 600 acres, farming a mixture of arable, cattle and pigs.

William said: “The main steps we’ve had to take is to be aware of the risk of fire because there’s been a significant number of fires in the wider area over the last few weeks.”

However field fires are not the only thing farm owners have had to contend with.

The hot weather is also affecting the wellbeing of livestock, the harvesting of crops and subsequently winter reserves.

William estimates that his yield has been reduced by about 20 per cent and he has almost finished harvesting his crop when normally he would only have just started.

“Most of the crops have nearly been harvested,” he said.

“We started early because the crops have been scorched by the sun which has meant much lower yields and may result in high prices in the shops.”

William has also had to take measures to ensure the health of his livestock. He said: “We make sure our animals have a significant supply of water.

“We have pigs and have wallows which cool them down and protect them from the sun.”

Feeding animals is another struggle farmers have had to face this summer as a result of the scorched grass.

“One of the difficult things at the moment is having to feed them the winter food rations which would have been used to feed them in the winter,” William explained.

“It could mean quite a significant fodder shortage on our crop store.”

William added: “We are sending straw down to people in the West Country to help farmers through.

 “It’s a difficult time this year, a very difficult time.”

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