Farmers are poised to meet government officials on Wednesday for an emergency summit amid fears a drought caused by the recent heatwave could adversely impact the UK’s food supply.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) said the heatwave has caused “tinderbox conditions”, as reduced grass growth and depleted yields for crops could cause a shortage of feed for livestock and dairy farmers later in the year.
This would lead to a supply chain issue for grocery retailers around the UK, and potentially drive up prices for customers.
According to the Guardian, union representatives will meet officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Rural Payments Agency and several farming charities.
Farmers are expected to talk about how many are breaking into winter fodder supplies due to a shortage of forage for livestock and dairy farmers, as well as express concerns over the shortage of water for irrigation.
NFU president Minette Batters warned of “the crippling impact of the dry, hot weather on farms across the country” and that “we shouldn’t take food production for granted”.
“There could be serious concerns for many farmers if this extended spell of warmer, drier weather continues as the long-range forecast suggests,” she added.
“It is vital that we come up with a plan and solutions to the issues that are now emerging across the industry.”
A Defra spokeswoman said: “Defra is working directly with the NFU and organisations across the industry to support farmers through the dry weather.
“We will continue working with all parties so farmers have the support they need through this difficult period.”