Spare a thought for Sheffield's farmers battling the UK heatwave

Richard Sampson, of Parklands Equestrian Centre, Aston.
Richard Sampson, of Parklands Equestrian Centre, Aston.
0
Have your say

Summer 2018 will certainly go down as one to remember.

The prolonged dry, sunny and hot weather has led to an almost tangible feel-good factor across Sheffield - and that's without even mentioning the World Cup.

Sue Pearson, Heeley City Farm chief executive.

Sue Pearson, Heeley City Farm chief executive.

But while most of us have certainly made the most of the weather so far this year, the same can't be said for the city's farmers who have been battling against the heat and dry conditions.

Richard Sampson runs Parklands Equestrian Centre and farm in Aston with his dad Sammy.

The 41-year-old family business, which hosted the Special Olympics last year, is located between Sammy's house and that of dad-of-one Richard.

Richard said: "We mainly grow hay in and around the riding stables and I know the yields are down because nothing is growing.

"The grass yields are so short. You have only got to look at your own lawn to see that nothing is growing. Everywhere is brown."

After weeks of dry wave across the city as the country continues to bask in the sunshine, Richard said it had been a complete contrast to last summer, when boggy conditions made it difficult to harvest.

He said: "It has meant I'll make a loss because we will normally get more but the yield will be a lot less so we won't be able to sell as much.

"You can water the land but that means you have to measure the cost of that against what you'd get back and that's really hard to work out.

"It's the total opposite to last year where we had so much rain. It's just getting a bit too much now."

Over at Heeley City Farm, the weather has brought a mixture of positives and negatives.

On the plus side, the sunny conditions have led to an increase visitor numbers but it has also meant more work for the farm's committed staff and volunteers.

Sue Pearson, chief executive, said: "The weather does impact on what we do but we are coping - there are pros and cons to it.

"We have had lots more visitors to the farm because of the lovely weather but we could do with a bit of a downpour to give everything a good water.

"The food is growing we can do stuff to help the crops and they are all in raised beds, and we keep moving the animals into different areas so they can graze."