Farming 'like playing poker' due to extreme heat and rising costs

  • Watch Max Walsh's report

A farmer from Somerset has told ITV West Country the industry is like "playing a poker game" due to the impact of extreme weather and rising costs.

Richard Payne, who has been running Manor Farm in Heathfield near Taunton for nearly 40 years, says the lack of rainfall has already cost him tens of thousands of pounds in crops.

But the 59-year-old insists it has been made worse by the rising price of fuel, fertiliser and energy bills.

Richard said: "It's absolutely brutal. If any farmer is saying they are in control of their costs at the moment they are being disingenuous. It's like a game of poker.

Dry cracks across Richard's farm make it impossible to plant any new crops. Credit: ITV News

"You've got to put your foot in the market and buy that fertiliser or chemical or fuel. But the next day that cost may have dropped way below or above it."

Mr Payne's farm stretches over 700 acres. He farms crops like wheat, barley and pulses as well as having a few sheep rotating across his fields.

But the extreme heat has already affected his harvest of spring beans. He estimates he has lost the equivalent of £48,000.

Across his fields are also large cracks in the dry ground. The earth is so hard he is unable to sow his winter crops and, without rain soon, he may have to wait until next spring -costing him yet more money.

Mr Payne said: "Climate change is a real thing. I mean we can see it now. I'm old enough to remember 1976 and this is an absolute replica. It's the ferocity of weather events. It's either extreme drought or extreme wet and that helps no one."

Mr Payne admits he is worried about the future of his farm but he knows the whole industry is struggling. He believes a spell of rain could make all the difference.