Rugby farmer warns heatwave could cause serious problems and leave us out of pocket over Christmas

Matthew Grindal on his farm.
Matthew Grindal on his farm.

A farmer near Rugby said farms across the country are three or four weeks of dry weather away from potentially serious problems – and we may feel the effects over Christmas.

Matthew Grindal, of Manor Farm Shop and Farmhouse Kitchen, said ceaselessly hot and dry weather has already caused some crops to fail while others are weeks away from the same fate.

Mr Grindal with his livestock.

Mr Grindal with his livestock.

He said: “This wonderful weather that my children are loving along with many in the population is going to come at some cost to us all.

“I think there’s a distinct possibility, for the first time in my lifetime, of a serious drought.”

Mr Grindal said the problems, although inconvenient, would not be ‘catastrophic’, adding: “I can’t really see supermarket shelves becoming empty, but I can see some produce becoming more expensive.”

Supermarkets often pay for stock well in advance, explained Mr Grindal – meaning that a shortage of produce could cause price rises over Christmas and next year, rather than in the coming weeks.

The 200-acre family-owned farm in Catthorpe has seen several crops fail this year and the problems continue, with vegetable crops requiring the weather to change in the next few weeks if they are to grow to their full size.

Mr Grindal's concerns come after the Met Office reported the country has received 16% of long term average rainfall for July, after only 49% of the long term average fell in June.

Drought has already left farmers across northern and central Europe contending with crop failure and bankruptcy.

The shortage of processed water that has plagued Rugby in recent weeks has also left Mr Grindal struggling to look after his livestock.

He said low water pressure meant that, at times, the water flow from the taps servicing the cattle had been reduced to drips – leaving him with no choice but to cart water to the fields to keep livestock hydrated.

Poor grass growth means Mr Grindal, like farmers across the country, has had to resort to using winter rations of hay to feed livestock - leaving him worrying about how he will feed his livestock later in the year.

Now Mr Grindal is asking for more support from politicians and the Government.

He said: “I am amazed our minister for the environment has not shown some support. In this industry you don’t feel the Government is supporting you.

"It’s not about asking for money. They could say ‘we are having problems with food production’, just so people understand what’s going on, and don’t get angry and blame farmers when they see food becoming more expensive.”

If the government raised awareness of the plight of farmers, banks and lenders may be more understanding and may not chase so quickly for overdue mortgage payments or overdrafts that some in the farming industry sometimes face, Mr Grindal added.