Onions and carrots will be smaller after heatwave, shoppers told

Shoppers face smaller and worse quality onions and carrots in supermarkets after the record-breaking heatwave and drought conditions ravaged the growing of Britain’s staple vegetables.

Farmers warned extremely dry and hot weather in the UK will add to rampant food price inflation as the growth of crops is stunted by heat and strained water supplies.


The industry warned that vegetables including onions, carrots, cabbages and potatoes will be affected after record temperatures and dry conditions.


Ian Hall, a large-scale carrot farmer from Tompsett Burgess Growers and the British Carrot Growers Association, said: “Because the crop is responsive to water and also with the temperature [as] once they get to say 28 degrees the carrots stop growing, the results are that the carrot crop are just not growing fast enough.”


He said carrots in the shops will be smaller and farmers are facing lower yields from their crop.


Tom Bradshaw, deputy president at the National Farmers’ Union, said: “They won't be able to produce the quality of crop that they were looking for so the size of the crop could well be reduced.


“Your onions, your potatoes, your carrots, your lettuce that require irrigation to grow, many of those farms have been using irrigation for several months now and will be getting to a situation where it is running very, very low and there will be some that are running out imminently.”


He added that farmers have not had “the growing season which we wanted to see”, threatening to put more upward pressure on food inflation.


The Government convened its National Drought Group to examine the situation on Tuesday after the driest first half of a year in England since 1976 was compounded by record temperatures. The heatwave threatens to worsen the fastest food price increases in 13 years after the war in Ukraine pushed up costs.


The growing of other crops, such as wheat and winter barley, are also likely to be impacted by the dry weather, particularly in parts of the country with lighter soils that retain less water.


Millie Askew, analyst at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, said: "In some areas, especially in the South, which is lighter land, the hot dry conditions has led to early senescence, which means early ageing. The earlier that crops senesce the larger the impact on yields as it limits the plant’s access to resources ahead of grain filling.”


She said the impact on yields will be “be regional and dependent on soil type” but added that the UK is “likely still to have an ample sized wheat crop”.


Source: The Telegraph