May was the sunniest month ever recorded with 266 hours, more in one month than most entire summers. The three spring months had 626 hours of sunshine, more than 70 hours greater than the previous record set in 1948. May was also the driest month ever recorded with some parts of the country receiving almost no measurable rainfall at all. What makes this so extraordinary is that it comes after an extremely wet February, the wettest on record with almost 600 flood warnings. There should be enough water in reservoirs to see us through the summer but farmers are worried that crops may suffer from drought if there is not some more consistent rain.
One of the most controversial aspects of the trade negotiations with the European Union is fisheries policy. The two parties seemed a long way apart threatening to derail the entire negotiation but there have now been rumours that agreement may be reached with both sides making some concessions. If that proves to be the case, however, it is unlikely that French fishermen will accept any compromise with the threat of a blockade, especially of the port of Calais.
Drought has gripped the Channel Islands to such an extent that yields of Jersey Royal potatoes are down by 40%. Following a very wet February, almost no rain has fallen since and the lifting season is three to four weeks late. The worst year since 1976, this is a serious setback for farmers and the economy of the Jersey as potatoes account for one third of the island’s cultivated land. The Jersey Royal Company has 1,800 hectares of the iconic early potato, 60% of the total.
Launched by the NFU and endorsed by celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, a petition urging the Government to ensure food imports comply with this country’s environmental and animal welfare standards had been signed by over 380,000 people at the time of writing last week. Although Ministers have pledged to uphold standards, they have refused to enshrine that in legislation and an amendment to the Agriculture Bill was defeated in the House of Commons.