Growers plan ahead for drought

Precautions being put in place by growers to avoid drought repercussions.

Growers in East Anglia are preparing to avoid the repercussions of drought during a year that is predicted to be one of the hottest on record. After last year’s lack of rainfall, growers in the historically dry region are taking precautions to ensure they are not caught out. The need for growers to plan ahead was stressed at three meetings organised by the National Farmers Union (NFU), in East Anglia, which hosted speakers from the Environmental Agency and Anglian Water. NFU regional environmental adviser Paul Hammett said the meetings provided growers with the latest information on irrigation prospects for 2007 and the impact climate change could have in the longer term. Outlining some of the practical preparations that are being made for a possible drought, Brian Finnerty, regional spokesperson for the NFU, said: “A lot of farmers are investigating the best use of water available and have participated in irrigation demonstrations. Our growers are building on their experiences from last year’s drought.” Lindsay Hargreaves, farm manager at Elveden Farms in Norfolk, is a member of Lark Abstractor Group, which represents approximately 70 growers and farmers. He believes the group has improved communication with the NFU and Environmental Agency, with good results. He said: “We are a lot more aware if a drought is approaching and consequently can schedule the amount of water specific crops need. We are far more careful with our water resources. We are also investing in new technology and trying to tackle some of the long-term issues, including securing access to water, from winter storage sites.”

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