Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Farmers say heavy rainfall is costing their businesses thousands

Recent wet weather is affecting farms across the region. Credit: ITV West Country

Farmers across the region say continued heavy rainfall is costing their businesses thousands of pounds.

The price of straw for bedding has risen steeply, with newborn calves unable to go out on the wet ground.

Farmers are being forced to keep their cows inside. Credit: ITV West Country

James Winslade has a farm on the Somerset Levels and says all his cows are still indoors.

"We're in the middle of calving at the moment. Normally we'd be calving and cows and calves would be going out to grass.

"This time last year they were even calving out at grass which is better because it's a cleaner fresher environment but they're still in."

The weather doesn't want to improve. Everywhere is saturated.

– James Winslade
The sodden fields are attracting waterfowl. Credit: ITV West Country

Farmers say the wet ground could have a knock-on effect for next year too because they should already be working on producing next winter's grain and straw.

Whilst the ground is saturated, they are unable to sow crops which could put them behind their usual schedule.

Whilst the ground is saturated, farmers are unable to sow crops. Credit: ITV West Country

Nigel Gribble says he has already had to buy 300 bales of silage to keep feeding his cows indoors, at a cost of £6,000, and has spent another £4,000 on straw for bedding, which is becoming so scarce it has tripled in price.

"I'll probably pay anywhere between 50 and 60 pounds a tonne in the season off the field. We're currently paying 150 and, no fault of the merchants, the quality is awful.

"It should be golden yellow, longer, wider. This is just brown. It's absorbed the water in the field. It's stained. It's just breaking up."

The cost of straw has increased as a result of the weather. Credit: ITV West Country