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Heat challenge for NI farms 4 July 2018

NI Heatwave is posing challenges for some farmers (via BBC News)

By Rebekah Logan

A County Down farmer has said he risks losing crops if the current dry spell continues into next week.

Roy Lyttle operates a farm near Newtownards and says he can only access water for 10–15% of his crops.

He grows a range of seasonal vegetables such as leeks, spring onions, parsnips and carrots.

The Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) said during the heatwave animal welfare and survival of produce are “key concerns” for its members.

UFU president Ivor Ferguson said farmers “are resilient and resourceful” and that the union will be “keeping a close eye on the situation”.

Many farmers in Northern Ireland rely on rain to water their land and do not have irrigation systems in place to cope with long periods of dry weather.

Mr Lyttle has been farming at the edge of Strangford Lough for approximately 30 years.

Some of his fields are four or five miles apart, making irrigation difficult.

The demand for salad vegetables, such as spring onions, has almost doubled in recent weeks due to the sunny weather, according to Mr Lyttle.

Read more via BBC News…