Roast dinner including pork crackling joint and dishes of vegetables and gravy.
Anyone who lived through the Soggy Months of this autumn will know how long and wet the 2023 harvest was. Between storms Babet, Ciarán, and Debi, UK farmlands received almost double the average amount this year ― and it’s unsurprising that this has had its effect on crops.
As storms blew through the UK, Professor Nicola Cannon, Professor of Agriculture at the Royal Agricultural University, shared that “In very wet and windy conditions ― such as those we have been experiencing lately ― the crop may fall over, known as lodging, because the weight of the grain at the top of the plant causes it to lean over.”
“Not only does this make it harder to combine but it also reduces air flow around the grain and impedes drying when the weather is finally dry enough to harvest,” she added. That, along with other factors, led to delays in harvesting crops ― and, as Professor Cannon pointed out, “a delay in harvest can also mean that field is not ready for planting with the next crop which then affects the yield and success of the following harvest.”
We should be able to restore stocks in time for Christmas, so your plate might not feel the pinch on the 25th of December ― but some crop supplies might be affected further down the line.
So, we thought we’d share some of the Christmassy crops that have been affected.
Potato crop stores are expected to hit a record low of 4.1 million tonnes this year.
“The British potato harvest has been hit hard by heavy rain and flooding in recent weeks, causing delay,” Fred Earle, editor of Fresh Produce Journal, shared that “The British potato harvest has been hit hard by heavy rain and flooding in recent weeks, causing delayed lifting and large crop losses. This was preceded by a cold, wet spring and a cool summer with low light levels.” “With the potatoes that are in store there’s likely to be enough supply to meet demand for the time being, but that might not be the case in the months ahead,” Earle added.
Lincolnshire grower Martin Tate shared that “There won’t be enough broccoli to supply the Christmas dinner demand.”
But “Food retailers are adept at managing supply chain issues and the impact on consumers has so far been minimal; full availability should return,” said Andrew Opie, director of food & sustainability at the British Retail Consortium (BRC) when speaking to The Telegraph.
TH Clements, one of the country’s largest suppliers of Brussels sprouts, warned of small and diminished sprout supplies. Speaking to BBC’s Farming Today, CEO Chris Gedney said that “Brussels sprouts are likely to be smaller this year as the larger ones tend to fall in the water and rot.“