“I lost 40,000 pounds of crops in a fire in a field”

“I lost 40,000 pounds of crops in a fire in a field”

“I lost 40,000 pounds of crops in a fire in a field”

Andy Barr

Andy Barr saw a 50-acre barley field on his farm go up in flames

People are urged to be especially careful to avoid causing fires in the countryside during hot weather, with some farmers claiming to have lost thousands of pounds of crops.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said fires are one of the biggest risks faced by farmers during heatwaves.

A farmer told the BBC he lost around £ 40,000 in crops when one of his fields went up in flames last week.

England has experienced the driest start of the year since 1976.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in the UK was recorded last Tuesday, with thermometers reaching 40.3 ° C in Lincolnshire and more than 30 places reaching temperatures above the previous record.

David Exwood, vice president of the NFU, said that even as the weather gets cooler, the lack of rain has increased the risk of fires in the fields.

“You need to be extremely careful when people are out in the countryside because anything can catch fire in this weather,” he said.

Andy Barr, who owns an 800-acre farm in Lenham, Kent, had a 50-acre barley field destroyed by fire last Saturday.

Although he hopes to apply for insurance, Mr Barr said the harvest was worth around £ 40,000.

He said it was a huge shock to see his hard work go up in flames.

“You spend a year growing it and you really enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor this time of year. So it was very disappointing,” she said.

“But now I’ve got over the shock and we only have slightly worrying times to see what insurers come out.”

Mr. Barr was also grateful to the firefighters and neighbors who helped stop the further spread of the fire by plowing crops that had not yet gone up in flames to put out the fire.

Rural insurer NFU Mutual said most farmers have insured their buildings, machinery and crops and said they have seen a “noticeable increase” in farm fire compensation claims during the heatwave over the past few years. weeks.

Last year he estimated the cost of applying for fire on a farm to be in excess of £ 70 million.

He urged people not to drop used matches or cigarettes, not to use disposable barbecues on the grass or on the moor, and not to throw litter as discarded bottles can concentrate sunlight and start a fire.

Camp after the fire

The Lenham fire destroyed nearly 50 acres of barley

David Exwood of the NFU said the hot, dry climate has also led to reduced yields and the quality of some crops such as potatoes, sugar beets and corn.

He said this could lead to shortages of some products on store shelves in the short term and higher prices for customers.

The longer the dry weather continues, the greater the impact, he added.

On his own farm in Sussex, Mr. Exwood said his corn was struggling due to lack of rain and he expected a “drastically reduced yield”, which could cost him tens of thousands of pounds.

Hanna Buisman

Hannah Buisman’s family farm grows oats, wheat and barley

Hannah Buisman, who works on her parents’ farm near St Albans in Hertfordshire, said she also saw a reduction in hay and grain yields due to the heat.

He said this was hitting the farm financially, at a time when costs for things like energy were rising.

Ms Buisman said the family also postponed harvesting crops last week because they felt it was too dangerous in hot weather. If combines hit a bottle left in a field or flint can ignite a flame and start a fire, she explained.

He urged people not to leave litter in the fields, adding that a nearby farm had lost 240 acres of crops in a fire.

“It’s the worst nightmare, especially in such volatile years as these,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.