Cambridgeshire farmer says carrot crop is failing because of dry weather and heatwave

This side-by-side comparison shows the devastating impact of the summer's drought on farmers' crops - carrots which have grown to just a quarter of the size they should be.

On the right, thin and feeble carrots, which are gnarled from growing through hard and stony ground; on the left, a crop which has been irrigated twice this summer, to make up for lack of summer rainfall.

But the resources needed for such widespread watering means it is not viable for every crop, and farmers are warning that shoppers may have to get used to smaller and odd-shaped roots vegetables on supermarket shelves this summer.

Many parts of the country, including East Anglia, are currently in drought in the wake of the driest July since 1935, and wrestling with the impact of heatwaves in which temperatures have topped 40C.

That has had a disastrous effect on root vegetables like carrots which struggle to grow in temperatures above 25C.

It means an anxious time for farmers like Ian Hall who looks after several acres of carrot fields near Manea in Cambridgeshire.

Mr Hall says that the hot weather has had a disastrous effect on his crop. Credit: ITV News Anglia

He said that until earlier this week, there had only been an inch of rain in the area in five months - which had resulted in his carrots only growing to about a quarter of the size they normally would.

"What carrots are not used to is the extremes of the heat we've just had," Mr Hall told ITV News Anglia.

"These days where it's 28C, 29C, or above, are a killer for the crop. Even when we're watering the crop, we're watering it and we're barely keeping the crop alive. That's all we're doing. We're not aiding the crop to bulk up."

Many of this year's carrots are smaller than normal, and are odd-shaped. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Mr Hall added that the carrots are also gnarled and misshapen from trying to grow through dry soil.

Inevitably, that means that wonky carrots could soon become the norm in supermarkets, while other fruit and vegetables like potatoes, apples and onions could also be affected.

Unless there is significant rainfall over the next few weeks, carrots could even be imported into the UK from abroad - previously unimaginable in a country known for the quality of its root vegetables.

"If you looks at what's happening in Europe, they're probably in a worse situation than we are," said Mr Hall.

"So it's getting pretty desperate."

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