"Warmest ever" March for Southeast a mixed blessing for growers

South East England and East Anglia have have their joint warmest March since records began, confirming growers' experience of forward early-season crops.

Image: Met Office
Image: Met Office

Provisional full-month statistics from the Met Office showed that for the UK as a whole it was the fifth-equal warmest March for the same period.

The highest temperature recorded in March was 22.1°C at Gravesend, Kent, on Thursday 30 March - only the fourth time that 22°C has been exceeded in March in the last 50 years.

England also had fewer air frosts than in any other March since records of air frost began in 1961, with several stations in the south recording no air frosts at all.

And while most of the UK had around average rainfall, Essex recorded just 26.3mm of rain, while Sussex received just 59% of the 1981–2010 rainfall average for the month.

Scotland meanwhile enjoyed its sixth sunniest March since 1929, with 123.8 hours of sunshine.

Growers have already had to contend with an early glut of carrots, brought forward by the fine weather, while Aldi reducing the price of British-grown cauliflower to 29p from the end of this week, with other supermarkets also cutting their prices.

Aldi UK joint managing director of buying Tony Baines said: "We foster long-term relationships with our suppliers and try to provide additional support whenever we can.

"When crops are affected and gluts like this occur we actively seek ways to sell-through additional volumes of produce."

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