Farms: Productivity

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann Conservative, North Cornwall

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the dry weather in summer 2018 on farm productivity levels.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The dry weather conditions last summer created challenges for many of our farmers, in terms of lower yields in the arable sector and a shortage of fodder for livestock farmers. The government took steps at the time to introduce a number of flexibilities under the Common Agricultural Policy’s Ecological Focus Areas, as well as Countryside Stewardship, Environmental Stewardship and woodland grant schemes to assist farmers and foresters struggling with the impacts of the dry weather.

Met Office data shows that November and December 2018 were notably milder than the long-term average allowing livestock farmers to be able to consider keeping their animals turned out to graze for longer. However, we are continuing to monitor the situation closely. The first results for the UK’s Total Factor Productivity in agriculture during 2018 will be published in May. Total Factor Productivity statistics are published on gov.uk and can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/total-factor-productivity-of-the-agricultural-industry.

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