The impact of recent wet weather is to be felt in the coming months as a shortage of cauliflowers, cabbages and broccoli hits the UK.
Back in June – before we had that ridiculous heatwave – crops were deluged with as much as 152mm of rain in one week and farmers have described the current state of a number of crops as “very concerning” .
Cauliflowers appear to have been affected the worst, with Tesco and Sainsbury’s online sites only offering organic ones at the moment.
British Growers chief executive Jack Ward said the cauliflower shortage was likely to continue until early September, but warned that broccoli was also starting to decline and Brussels sprouts crops had also been affected.
He explained: “For some, a year’s work was destroyed in one week of rains. Crops come in waves but we’re looking at the shortage going on for another two to three weeks, possibly extending to broccoli.
“The rain also affected a lot of young plants so there are likely to be problems into winter across the board with brassicas. There’s some way to go but crops that have been waterlogged, like Brussels spouts, it’s not getting them off to the start they need to produce the quantities we would want to see.”
The supply situation has been made more difficult by extreme temperatures in Europe, which would normally make up any shortfall in the the UK.
It is unclear if consumers will see prices rise as a result of shortages, although Ward suggested retailers would try to keep costs consistent.
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “Recent wet weather has affected cauliflower growth in some parts of the country, but with our dedicated cauliflower growers based all across the UK, we continue to have a range of cauliflowers and cauliflower products in our stores.”
Ward said the amount of rain in Lincolnshire in June was “unprecedented”, but said producers were seeing an increase in exceptional weather conditions which did not make for ideal growing conditions.
Last week saw a series of weather warnings issued for numerous parts of the UK, with wet weather and galeforce winds causing transport chaos.
Things aren’t much better this week and the downpours currently blighting the south east are expected to continue until the weekend.