Wet and cold May leads to fruit crop delay

Fruit crops such as strawberries and plums are expected to be up to three weeks late this year due to the recent cold and wet weather.

The berry season officially started on 1 May but the chilly conditions have slowed down the growing process.

Michael Bentley, from Castle Fruit Farm near Newent in Gloucestershire, said it was in stark contrast to last year.

"Compared to last year they're going to be about three weeks late. This is nature for you," he said.

"Last year it was an exceptionally early season and we had a very hot April and May but this year it's been quite the reverse.

"This has not been very good for the crops but having said that at the present moment we're expecting an average crop," he added.

Rees Keene, of Over Farm in Gloucester, is experiencing the same with his strawberries, which are also expected to be three weeks behind schedule.

The wet May comes after a dry but frosty April, which put paid to some of his crops.

He said: "It's going to delay us a bit with getting a bit of money back into the business. It's all fun and games and it's part of the challenge of farming.

"The long-range forecast seems to be better, we'll have showers on odd days rather than wall-to-wall heavy rain, so fingers crossed."

Meanwhile, cider maker Matilda Temperley, of the Somerset Cider Brandy Company, based in Martock, said she was waiting to see how the weather conditions had affected this year's apples.

"Our main concern is that the pollinators have not been able to do their jobs. We will know in a few weeks when we will be able to assess the fruit set," she said.

Source: BBC News