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.