Autumn is fast approaching, and it won’t be long before you’re preparing your farm for the cooler months. As the old saying goes, failure to prepare, prepare to fail. Having said this, most of the time we are putting our faith in the good old British weather, which let’s face it, never seems to serve us well. If you caught up on Jeremy Clarkson’s farm, you’ll see just how badly affected us farmers can be when it comes to bad weather if you haven’t experienced this first-hand!
Wet weather delays can halt Maize harvest and you may find you’re housing your animals much earlier than expected. The downside to this being the additional forage supply cost and other costs associated with housing your animals through the colder months. The autumn months are also when crops like potato’s are ready to be harvested, so it can be a very busy time for farms in the UK.
The bad weather is extremely costly for our farmers who can be thousands of pounds behind target, with four out of five farmers having experienced recurrent extreme weather, even during unexpected times of the year. If we look back to 2019, UK farmers saw the worst wheat yield in over 40 years with a combination of wet winters, dry springs and piping hot summers.
Now the dreaded topic, Brexit! The direct impact of Brexit on UK farmers comes through from a payment and labour perspective, particularly now the free movement of labour has come to an end. From a more indirect approach, issues along the supply chain such as processors and abattoirs have taken a hit.
If we investigate market costs and the increase in exportation fees there may be a rise in prices. There is potential for the cost of beef to increase by 3-4% with the cost of sheep coming down by 5%. Again, this is all depending on whether other elements in the supply chain remain the same or begin to change as a result. As export costs are rising significantly, we may see an increase in demand for food exportation with the UK being a large net importer of food once again presenting potential challenges for UK farmers given the increase in demand.
With an increase in demand the global milk production is increasing significantly. It is down to the dairy industry in the UK to manage the rise in demand effectively to be able to keep a steady supply. Whilst we have noticed a significant increase in the use of plant-based alternatives, the dairy drinkers are here to stay. The dairy industry poses huge challenges for suppliers by squeezing them to their absolute limits to provide for the big supermarket chains and other retailers. It’s crucial the farming industry provide a long term strategy as part of a wider plan to keep up with supply and demand without exhausting their resources.