Soggy summer hits fruit farmers

The bad summer weather is hitting fruit farms across the Anglia region Photo: ITV Anglia

Continuous bad weather has wiped out a Norfolk grower's entire crop of Coxes and Bramley apples. John Everett from Rockland St Mary in Norfolk said normally at this time of the year his orchards would be laden with fruit but instead the branches are almost bare. And it is the same for cherries, plums and pears.

The UK apple market is worth more than £300 million pounds a year.

He said : "The trees are absolutely devoid of any apple at all. Normally they would be full of apples and we would get several tons of apples at harvest time. If you look at a branch like this there is literally no apple on it at all. The flowers didn't set and they won't get into flower again until April 2013 so we can't possibly get a crop until for over a year now."

Ironically it's been a fabulous year for raspberries but the unpredictable weather has devastated his pick your own business.

The cool, wet weather is affecting honey production as bees are affected by the conditions Credit: ITV Anglia

John Everett also keeps bees. Three million of them. But for them to leave their hives to collect pollen and nectar conditions need to be perfect - over twelve degrees centigrade, with sunshine and no wind. There haven't been many days like that since April so he's having to feed them watered down sugar so they don't starve.

"Some people have actually lost the bees because they have died of starvation but providing beekeepers put feeders on and feed the bees if they are hungry the bees should be able to tick over but we won't get as much honey as we've had in the past."

He usually collects two tons of honey which makes 4,000 jars. This year he'll be lucky to get 1,000.

The UK apple market is worth more than £300 million pounds a year. Credit: ITV Anglia

Meanwhile at G & M Growers in Biggleswade in Bedfordshire there are problems too. They normally grow 6,000 tonnes of potatoes on 300 acres of land. This year the yield is expected to be down by a quarter - not because of the wet weather but because of the lack of sunshine.

Brian Finnerty from the National Farmers' Union said : " It has been a very, very challenging year for farmers. We could be facing the worst harvest for years but we are hoping some decent weather from now on will prevent that."

The UK's wettest June since before 1910 was behind a 0.7% drop in food sales last month and there are fears the wet weather may hit fruit and vegetable prices.

However Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium says the wet weather may have an impact on individual items but customers have "nothing to worry about because food inflation is falling."