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Farmers fear they'll have to abandon some crops because of wet weather

Farmers in the region say they're having to abandon their crops because wet weather is making it impossible to harvest them.

  • Click to watch our report from Charlie Frost

It's been the wettest October in 5 years, and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of vegetables are waiting to be picked from water-logged fields.

Some future crops could also be in jeopardy because planting seeds may have to be put on hold

Water-logged fields near Great Yarmouth Credit: ITV Anglia

Under the ground, the spuds on some farms are swimming in waterlogged earth.

They're ready to be harvested, but farmers can't get to them, because the wet ground can't hold the heavy machinery.

Water-logged vegetables Credit: ITV Anglia

At Billockby Farm near Great Yarmouth the heavy rainfall put a stop to their attempt to harvest this field for most of this month.

Usually, potatoes are out of the ground by the end of October.

Since I've been in the industry, I've never seen it as wet for as long, since the 21st of September we've had 14 dry days so I've never known such a long wet spell.'

– John Benton, Manager Billockby Farm

The fear is, if the potatoes aren't farmed soon, the frost may set in and they could rot.

It's estimated there are between 20 to 30 percent of potatoes still in the ground, ready to be harvested.

At Billockby Farm it's 18 per-cent, that's around 2,000 tonnes or potatoes, worth £300,000

In Spalding farmer Richard Ivatt is having similar problems.

Unable to harvest much of his sugar beet and unsure whether to bother planting a Spring crop.

'It has a big financial impact on us all. If we're not growing a crop where we can make profit, that's what we're all doing it for, trying to make money. Well, it has a big knock on effect, it'll effect everything in the long term won't it.'

– Richard Ivatt, Farmer
Water-logged vegetables Credit: ITV Anglia

The Anglia region has seen its wettest October in five years, with rainfall well above average.

But despite that, the year so far has been drier than usual.

I think one of the most difficult things about the rainfall that we've seen over the past couple of months is that we haven't really had any prolonged dry spells. So we've certainly had above average rainfall but we haven't had a lot of sunshine which means the ground hasn't had a chance to dry out and in our region we really don't have very good drainage anyway and we're low lying so it has made planting particularly difficult.

– Aisling Creevey, Anglia Weather