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Farmers say erratic summer weather could drive up cost of harvesting

Farmers are forced to harvest crops when they aren't in perfect condition. Credit: ITV West Country

West country farmers say erratic summer weather is affecting their crops.

A wet August has left crops standing in damp ground which lowers the quality of the yield.

This could mean higher prices in the shops or farmers taking the hit.

Crops are filled with extra moisture after standing in damp ground. Credit: ITV West Country

Farmers test the moisture in crops regularly to make sure it is suitable for harvesting.

15%
Moisture is the usual upper limit for harvesting crops
19%
Crop moisture has been recorded in the South West - meaning crops must be dried.

The recent wet weather means farmers are forced to work longer hours as they have fewer opportunities to harvest their crops whilst they are dry.

It's not an overnight job. It takes days and the weather pattern so far this August has been so intermittent; we get one good day and then five bad days so we have to grab it when we can.

– Mark Weekes, Farmer

The unsuitable conditions are affecting some crops with sections of wheat no longer suitable for bread-making.

This wheat must instead be used as animal feed.

Crops are continually monitored for moisture. Credit: ITV West Country

Many farmers are unable to wait for the ideal conditions to harvest their crops.

Harvesting crops when they are wet means farmers are forced to pay more to dry them.

£20
cost per tonne of crops if farmers need to have them dried.

The National Farmers Union says the extra cost to farmers is one reason agricultural subsidies should continue after Brexit.