Unseasonably bitter wintry weather has coincided with the peak lambing season. Hundreds of animals are thought to have died in recent days as snowdrifts have reached record heights in west Cumbria, the Pennines, the Peak District, Shropshire and north Wales.
NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe said the weather was the final straw at the end of a very tough 12 months. “That’s why it is so important that consumers continue to buy British lamb in support of those farmers who’ve been dealing with the bad weather over the last year.”
‘A distressing and challenging time’
Sercombe said it was “a distressing and challenging time” for many sheep farmers who had been forced to witness the death of their stock. “You really expect decent weather at the end of March and I fear that significant numbers of lambs will have been lost in the snow.”
The NFU said it was in discussions with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about how farmers – some facing large financial losses – could be helped to cope with the crisis.
Meanwhile, a survey from the grocery think-tank IGD confirmed this week that half of shoppers who are planning to entertain family and friends this Easter holiday would like to see more local and British food offered for sale.