As Peterborough continues to bake in scorching sunshine, the region’s farmers have been hit hard by the hot, dry weather.
The city has had more than a month of sunshine, which has been welcome news for sun worshippers, with record numbers heading to Peterborough Lido to catch some rays.
There has been more than a month with no rain in Peterborough for the first time in more than a decade.
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Trevor Robbins-Pratt, who runs the Peterborough Weatherwatch website, which records weather patterns in Peterborough, said: “I have not recorded any rain since June 17. My last similar dry spell was in March and April 2007 when I had 25 dry days until April 23.”
Mr Robins-Pratt also said the temperatures this July were 2.7 degrees Celsius hotter than average.
But while it has been good for some, for farmers and gardeners in the area it has caused headaches.
Farmer Stephen Briggs, who runs a cereal, vegetables and fruit farm and the Harvest Barn Shop in Farcet, said it had been a challenging year.
He said: “It is not just the extended dry and hot period - it was the long, wet winter and spring that has caused problems. Yields will be down, and some quality may be down because the development of the plants has been stressed - although because we have organic soil the impact on us will be reduced.
“I’ve been farming 15 years, and it seems weather records are now broken every year.
“The worst thing that could happen now is for heavy rain so there is a wet harvest. The damage has been done with the hot weather now.”
National Farmers Union Deputy President Guy Smith said some farmers were starting to use winter food stocks for their livestock.
He said: “The lack of rain across many parts of the country has meant grass becoming scorched and turning brown. That’s bad news for livestock and dairy farmers who’re now starting to dip in to their fodder supplies that they keep for the winter months which adds additional costs to the business.
“The shortage of straw has seen the NFU relaunch its Fodder Bank in a bid to help our members find feed and livestock bedding for their farms and allow them to sell any surplus to those farmers in need.”
Dry spell could end with a bang
After a month without rain, Peterborough’s dry spell could end in spectacular style on Friday, July 20.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for much of the south of the country - including Peterborough, saying thundery downpours could hit the city between 2pm and midnight.
And the current Met Office forecast suggests there’s a 60% chance of rain between 4pm and 8pm in Peterborough.
Trevor Robbins-Pratt, from Peterborough Weatherwatch agreed, but said the storms could miss the city, heading further south instead.