Farming News - NFU : Government urged to deliver for UK food security with drastic reduction in crops expected due to wet weather

NFU : Government urged to deliver for UK food security with drastic reduction in crops expected due to wet weather

Responding to AHDB’s survey which shows yields of crops such as wheat, winter barley and oilseed rape are likely to be significantly reduced this year due to the wet weather, NFU President Tom Bradshaw said: “Since the end of last year, farms across the country have faced continued wet weather with many thousands of acres of productive farmland affected.

“Many farms in areas such as Lincolnshire are still under water from last October, and we have heard countless desperate stories from our members who are struggling to get on to their fields to plant any crops.

“While it is difficult to mitigate against all environmental extremes, we must recognise that we haven’t been prioritising our water management and things are going drastically wrong.”  


The AHDB survey¹ reveals:

  • Wheat - down 15 per cent at 1.463 million hectares (biggest reduction in cropped areas since 2020)
  • Oilseed Rape – down 28 per cent at 280 thousand hectares (biggest reduction since 1980s)
  • Winter Barley – down 22 per cent at 355 thousand hectares (biggest reduction since 2020)

Mr Bradshaw added: “Not surprisingly, results from this AHDB survey paint a bleak picture and build on an unprecedented year in terms of high input costs, lower commodity prices and a reduction in direct payments.

“It is another example of how vulnerable British food producing businesses are and highlights the possibility of more crops being imported, potentially produced to standards that would be illegal here, all adding further to market volatility. That’s why domestic food production must be given the right policy framework and the priority it deserves.

“The NFU’s election manifesto sets out how more funding is urgently needed by the Environment Agency, so it can deliver a proactive plan of management and re-investment in the watercourses and flood defences it is responsible for.

“And crucially, our manifesto urges the next government to commit to an agricultural budget that ensures British farming can meet the challenges of climate change and deliver on the government’s own statutory commitments for the environment and net zero², while producing sustainable British food.”