July saw the UK reach its highest ever temperature on record, with 40.3 degrees Celsius being recorded during the heatwave. The London fire brigade saw its busiest day since the blitz amid the soaring temperatures, and countless events were cancelled across the country after the Met Office issued a rare Red Weather Warning for extreme heat. Meteorologists have also warned that another heatwave could be coming during August, lasting several days.
The extreme heat, something which the UK and its infrastructure is not accustomed to, causing crops to wither and die sooner, thus decreasing returns for farmers. Nicholson Machinery can help! We design and manufacture bespoke harvesting equipment, with specific focus on onion harvesting, ensuring that your crops can be harvested speedily, avoiding damage.
Insurers saw a 35% increase in combine harvester fire claims during the 2021 heatwave and harvest, a figure that will surely rise in 2022 due to the extreme temperatures. The NFU has stated that they are aware of over 400 farmyard machinery and equipment fires this year, with damages estimated to exceed £15 million. The heatwave and lack of rain leads to straw and hay becoming tinder dry, needing only the smallest spark to set it alight and cause devastation. Farmers have warned that the heat, combined with the lack of moisture in the soil, could lead to no rapeseed at all being drilled this year.
Further, the lack of rain experienced in the UK over recent weeks and months has led to concerns that irrigation water supplies could run short as reservoirs are drying up, leading to farmers struggling to water their crops at all. This could then lead to a smaller overall yield of vegetables such as carrots and onions, estimated to be as severe as a 15-20% reduction in yield, whilst the produce itself is expected to be smaller this year. In a report published earlier this year by the United Nations World Meteorological Organisation, it was stated that extreme weather and climate events such as heatwaves caused a major threat to food security across the globe in 2021.
A farmer in East Anglia has stated that skyrocketing energy bills will also impact farmers during the heatwave. He stated that whilst he would typically budget approximately £80,000 for electricity to pump water around the crops, the heatwave and increased energy costs has seen this figure rise to £300,000, which, as farmers profits are decreasing across the board, could see farmers forced to sell their fields. With issues including the Russian invasion of Ukraine threatening food and produce supply chains, farmers in the UK will play a more vital role in ensuring that UK households have access to food. In order to assist farmers during this difficult time, the Rural Payment Agency issued the first Basic Payment Scheme advance payments, covering approximately 50% of the total, giving farmers a sense of financial security.
Based in Norfolk, Nicholson Machinery is a family run business with a proud heritage celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Working closely with farmers, horticulturalists, and pack house operators, Nicholson translates the needs of our customers into the design and manufacture of a full range of onion farming and processing equipment.
Our industry leading onion farming equipment combined with our strategic location in the UK’s onion, beet and potato farming district make Nicholson the ideal machinery partner for local growers. During these changes to the farming landscape in the UK caused by extreme weather, Nicholson will continue to work alongside farmers to design bespoke farming equipment which meets their exact requirements. Contact our team today for more information on our bespoke machinery.