Wet weather and climate change blamed for 'depressing' harvest, says farmer

  • Watch the report on a heartbreaking 2023 harvest for farmers

A farmer in Wiltshire estimates he will lose tens of thousands of pounds this harvest due to the impact of wet weather on his crops - and he believes climate change is causing more problematic conditions.

Tom Collins runs a 1,000 acre mixed farm near Chippenham. He says he has had to delay this year's harvest due to the unseasonable conditions.

The National Farmers' Union says recent spells of extreme weather have been "heartbreaking" for all farmers.

"It's pretty depressing," Tom said. "You do get down when you're sitting in the kitchen and looking outdoors and another day of rain, another day of rain.

Farmer Tom Collins says poor conditions mean he'll lose tens of thousands of pounds this year.

"Not only can you not do your work, which I love, but it's damaging the yield of crops, it's affecting your income. The two things are a double whammy."

The wheat from Tom's land is used in Ryvita crackers and McVities biscuits, but he is concerned the quality of his grain might not make the grade.

He said: "This grain is destined to make biscuits, hopefully it make the spec but due to the rain it might not make the grade. It might just be used for feed and then we'll get a lower price for it."

He has also had to spend thousands of pounds and several days of work drying out the grain because there is too much moisture in it.

Katie Davies from the NFU described the situation as "heartbreaking".

"It's such a difficult period anyway," she said. "It's always stressful, but with the weather we've been facing everyone is just trying to catch a break in the weather.

"It's very difficult. My one big message is to farmers is to look after yourselves and to check in on each other. Stay safe this harvest."

Tom believes climate change has had an impact on the types of weather we've experienced in recent years which is making farming increasingly difficult.

He said: "Climate change is definitely happening. We seem to get long periods where we get two months of sunshine or two months of rain. We can't seem to get the natural flow of weather anymore."