Dry weather impacts: risks must be shared

Martin Emmett

Martin Emmett

NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board chair

17 August 2022

Horticulture and potatoes
Potato field

NFU Horticulture and Potatoes board chairman, Martin Emmett, reflects on the diverse range of impacts across the horticulture sector from the prolonged hot and dry weather, and the need for customers to take a pragmatic approach.

The diversity of the horticulture sector inevitably creates a variety of impacts from extreme weather events, such as the drought we are facing this summer.

Just a few weeks ago, indications from the NFU Horticulture and Potatoes board showed a mixed picture, from those crops which had benefited from the prolonged sunny weather, to those, particularly unirrigated crops that were already under a lot of stress.

All were concerned about an extended period of drought, but not all had yet seen its effects.

The situation is getting more concerning as each week passes.

At the risk of oversimplifying, irrigated crops are just about coping, but unirrigated crops are not. But whether irrigated or not, there is one common concern for all growers: If we do not get significant rainfall on the Autumn and Winter, 2023 is going to be tougher still.

Keep customers informed

For any members that have lost, or fear losing crop it is critical to speak to their customers to ensure the impacts are being fairly managed across the supply chain.

Supply contract help

The NFU has put out an updated guide on supply contracts, which you may wish to read. There is also other guidance relative to the dry conditions that may help too.

Potato sector

The potato sector is one that we know is facing particular difficulties.

In the past, larger customers such as the big processors in the sector, have tended to respond to extreme weather pragmatically.

I would expect them to do the same this year, but it is important for members to keep us informed if they feel they are being treated unfairly.

The NFU is here to help

Contact Call First in the first instance, if you have any concerns.


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