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University of Warwick's bean grower Andy Ward grapples with impacts of torrential rain

Lincolnshire farmer Andy Ward, known for cultivating the first British Baked Beans in partnership with University of Warwick scientist Eric Holub, is facing a harsh reality as standing waters inundate his farmlands.

He said, "There's nothing we can do when the fields are underwater."

The rain not only devastated Andy’s farmland but also highlighted the vulnerability of agricultural communities in the UK. Andy emphasises the lasting impact on soil quality and livelihoods, stressing the urgency for collaborative solutions.

Professor Eric Holub, professor of plant genetics at the University of Warwick, said “It’s a nightmare for farmers when floods hit, as we know.

"At the University of Warwick, we are working to diversify UK-grown crops – like beans – but UK farmers must be supported through flooding and other weather-related factors to be able to fortify our agricultural landscape against these unpredictable challenges.

Farmers are at risk of losing their cereal crops drilled in the autumn. Spring sown crops will be essential for recovering some of their losses.”

Dr Jonathan Clarke from the institute for Global Sustainable Development at the University of Warwick, said: The UK has seen a Christmas quite like no other, with warmer temperatures, record levels of rain, and a series of named storms, that have brought flooding and disruption across the country. This winter has been particularly difficult for farmers and our agriculture industry, with many farms underwater or suffering crop damage, including the farm responsible for producing British baked beans in Lincolnshire.

The National Trust have also highlighted the negative effects that climate change is having on nature and our plant growing season. While extreme weather is often quickly forgotten by many, there is an urgent need to consider how our society can become more resilient to the worst effects of a changing climate, and how we can mitigate the worst effects on agriculture and the environment."

The floods across the UK have reignited discussions on the pressing need for proactive measures to protect farming from escalating flood threats. As Andy surveys the aftermath of the rains on his once-thriving farmlands, he remains committed to finding ways to adapt and overcome the challenges posed by nature.

"We'll rebuild and innovate. But we must have support and solutions in place to tackle these issues collectively," Andy said, echoing the sentiments of many farmers grappling with the impact of extreme weather on their livelihoods.


Fri 05 Jan 2024, 15:20 | Tags: crop centre, crops, Beans