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Farming and the Impact of Brexit
2018 Crop Shortage
From an agricultural view
The prolonged period of drought we experienced in the summer of 2018 did not just affect crop production in the UK, but also throughout Europe. The hot weather was so extreme, that between 15th April and October, not a single drop of rain fell in Scandinavia. Considering that 90% of Ryegrass production comes from Northern Europe (Poland, Germany, Netherlands and Scandinavia) this has had a profound impact on harvests. Studies show that crop yields fell approximately 15% -20,000T in 2018. The USA do not produce Lolium perenne for feeding purposes so cannot help. Breeders and growers both suffered as grassland dried out and died and never made it to the heading stage. Not only has this left the 2019 seed stocks very low for some species, farmers also bought up existing stocks of Hybrid Ryegrass, Italian Ryegrass and Perennial Ryegrass for cutting and grazing purposes as other feed crops, such as Maize, had failed due to drying out in the fields and the yields were poor. Stocks of certain species and varieties are currently empty. Large seed producers have cut down their contracted quantities as a result of the situation as demand struggles to be met and, in some cases, simply cannot be met. The ‘knock on’ effect means that crop production for 2019 will suffer as a consequence and the situation is only expected to improve after harvest 2020.
From an amenity view
The good news is stocks of amenity Perennial Ryegrass, has not been affected as hard as the argic species. Pitches and lawns did, of course, suffer through the drought just as much as the fields, but stocks of seeds ready to be sown are somewhat healthier – although some species, such as Chewings Fescue and Agrostis tenuis will be in short supply. Furthermore, a great demand is expected for spring 2019 for overseeding and repair purposes.