"The crops are getting stressed" - farmer's growing concerns as extreme weather continues

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Farmers are used to adapting to changes in the weather but climate change is bringing fresh unprecedented challenges.

They are amongst those who have no choice but to work outside in extreme weather conditions.

In fields scarred by the heat and lack of rain, farmer Rupert Shinner has never known his land to be so dry.

In Ivybridge, the livestock are requiring much more more water each day. Whilst Rupert hasn't resorted to feeding his cattle with winter rations yet, he is already grazing the fields he would normally use to produce and grow silage for winter.

But he does know of some farms who have already had to dip into their winter reserves to get through these extreme circumstances.

It's very dry on Rupert's Ivybridge farm Credit: ITV

Everything is having a knock on effect. The cows on Rupert's farm are drinking 50% more water to stay hydrated in the heat, and they expect next year's calving to be down because of the hot weather this year.

He said: "We're really struggling to make sure we've got enough water in places - certain streams have dried up which normally would be running and we've had to re-think how we're getting water to cattle and sheep and livestock in general."

He added: "Crops have seriously reduced their growth rates, and grass being one of the major ones people started feeding winter rations already here in the middle of July - silage that they would be feeding in November.

Cows on Rupert's farm Credit: ITV

"We're not feeding silage ourselves but we have started grazing the grass we would be cutting for silage. So that's a real worry and I think crops are getting stressed - how good a quality crops are going to be when they come to harvest could be an issue."

Rupert said that if the dry spell continues crops will get stressed to a level that quality would be significantly impacted.