Letter: Farmers' early crop of problems

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The Independent Online
Sir: I wish to draw to the attention of your readers two major problems facing farmers in the south of England following this exceptionally mild (some may even say warm) winter.

The first is the much-publicised over-production of milk. Vigorous grass growth has resulted in many dairy farmers achieving their annual quotas with several weeks left to the year end. This had caused a shortage in the cheese manufacturing industry and, no doubt, will put future upward pressure on prices.

The second, and potentially more serious problem is that of the impending early grain harvest. Winter-sown cereals are already showing nine to 12 inches of growth in some areas, and this could result in an unprecedented May harvest - some eight to 12 weeks early. The extra grain storage drying time involved will create an unreasonable burden on an already overstretched economy.

Surely Brussels must have budget contingencies for such eventualities, and funds should be made available at the appropriate time.

Yours faithfully,

DAVID PEARCE

Bere Regis,

Dorset

30 March

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