04:36AM, Friday 12 October 2012
A leading farmer says his team has been working 60 to 70 hour weeks to save crops after the year's bizarre mix of drought and torrential rain.
Cllr Colin Rayner, the mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead, is a director of his family's farms at Berkyn Manor, Horton and 20 other sites around Maidenhead, Cookham, Cox Green, Old Windsor and Essex. He says conditions this year are the worst he has seen in 30 years in the business.
He said: "My staff have been working 70 to 80 hour weeks and are exhausted. Some cancelled holidays with their children.
"Our combined harvester which works on tracks and cost quarter of a million pounds got stuck in the wet ground 35 times, causing real damage to the soil.
"We didn't finish harvesting the crop until September 25, usually it would be the second week of August. Some had to be left to rot in the fields because it was so wet. What we have got is low in protein, milling quality and bushel weight and we were down 15 per cent in yield."
There are also still 1,000 acres of wheat left to plant.
Newspaper warnings of rocketing food bills ring horribly true to Cllr Rayner.
He said: "If it was just a problem here in Berkshire we could always get our food from elsewhere. But there is no elsewhere, it is the same everywhere."
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