Lincolnshire farmers ploughing on despite wettest year on record
THE wettest year on record has sowed the seeds of havoc for farmers in Lincolnshire.
Annual rainfall figures have revealed 2012 was the wettest year on record in Lincolnshire, with 841mm of rain falling across the county.
And farmers say problems caused by heavy rainfall and water-logged ground have blighted their lives, reducing crop yields by 40 per cent compared to 2011.
Although the year began very differently, with the first hosepipe ban in 20 years being imposed due to drought, the summer then brought heavy rainfall, which continued to the end of the year.
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Keelby farmer Jim Knipe has tended his land growing cereal and sugar beet since he was 15, he says it has never been this bad.
"It's been absolutely terrible," he said.
"I have had to leave a third of my land untended and unplanted because it has been so waterlogged.
"The high water table could last until July and it will cause long-term problems.
"The wife keeps a check on the weather everyday and you can see there's been a big difference to previous years.
"I have worked the farm since 1958, we have had some tough times but it has never been this bad.
"I can't sow, I can't spray and I can't harvest.
"I have spoken to other farmers who have not been able to get their potatoes out of the ground because it is so wet, which is affecting the prices of everything."
David Armstrong, pictured, who has been farming crops such as wheat and linseed, as well as potatoes, at his farm in Bardney, near Market Rasen, for 25 years, said: "The weather has made it very difficult for us this year. First we had the prospect of water shortages and then it started raining and hasn't stopped.
"We measure rainfall on the farm and it was double the amount we recorded the previous year. Because of that we've only made about 60 per cent of the yield we made in 2011.
"We had problems planting because the ground was water-logged and then we suffered potato blight, caused by the wet conditions.
"The crops were very slow bulking up so we had to leave harvest as long as we dared."
Robin Arundel, 79, grows vegetables and corn on the farm near Donna Nook where he was raised.
"I've seen many years like the last one in my time and it does affect the crops," he said.
"However, I'd rather have water when I turn on the taps than none at all. Droughts are just as bad."
National Union of Farmers spokesperson Richard Heslett said the poor harvest has affected all agricultural farmers.
"The price of grain has gone very high because of the low amount of high-quality crop available," he explained.
"It's been an awful year for farmers, and many are struggling this winter as well, being unable to plant the winter crops, which could be a big problem next harvest.
"The farmers are raring to go and plant but their seedlings are just being washed away.
"This is a problem all farmers face and it is just part of the game of farming, you just have to carry on."