Lincolnshire growers forced to irrigate to establish crops

Brassica growers in Lincolnshire are desperately attempting to irrigate their crops as they struggle to establish them in the dry weather.

Irrigating is not common practice in the region because there is little surface water available and the soils are saline because the region is generally at sea level.

This means that if they irrigate they have to use tap water or dig boreholes deep underground. But since the area has had less rainfall than other parts of the country, growers are having to do all they can to avoid a crop shortage later in the year.

Carl Sharp of the Allium & Brassica Centre in Kirton, Lincolnshire, said: "Those who are able to irri-gate are irrigating. The warm, dry weather has also increased the thrips, which is a problem especially in cabbage. We are also starting to find peach potato aphids in most crops."

A representative - who wished to remain anonymous - for Wrangle Growers in Boston, Lincolnshire, told Grower: "Lincolnshire has not had any rain for two or three weeks so everyone is trying to irrigate. We do not usually irrigate but if we don't the crops will not be the quality they should be. "

Brassica Growers Association vice chairman and East of Scotland Growers managing director Alistair Ewan said: "It's business as usual as far as we are concerned. There's been a north-south divide - above Newcastle we have been getting rain but south of that it's been very dry."

Kent-based Brassica grower Geoff Philpott said: "We are find- ing that everything is on time and looking well." He added, how- ever, that fewer crops were being grown this year because Brassica growers' yields continue to be inadequate.


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