Monday, September 15, 2008

Harvest time


Harvesting machines have been unable to operate on the sodden land, root crops are in danger of rotting in the soil and outdoor fruit crops have largely been ruined.

The National Farmers' Union has said that a week of unbroken weather is essential for farmers to begin tackling the backlog.
Getting warmer:
Guy Gagen, chief arable adviser at the National Farmers Union, said farmers could be fined thousands of pounds if they broke the heavy machinery rules.

"They [the Government] say it is to protect soil structure but when you have thousands of pounds worth of crops in the field you have to get it harvested. You can restore any ruts later.

"It is an enormous frustration. This rule was put in when food production was not considered important and now that is clearly not the case.

"Farmers will technically be breaking the law and facing a fine if they harvest their fields when it is wet."

A spokesman for Defra said the measure to stop farmers from using motorised vehicles on waterlogged soils was introduced to "protect soils from compaction and structural damage caused by using vehicles when the soil is too wet".
European Union machinery rules and prolonged rain mean the crops may rot in the wet fields before they can be collected.

The EU rules ban farmers from using combine harvesters on wet land to protect soil quality

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