The extremely wet weather experienced throughout the past six months in the UK has resulted in serious difficulties for farmers across the nation and the Cotswolds is not exempt.  

Many farmers simply could not get on to their land to drill, as they usually would have done, in the autumn. As a result many will be unable to meet their expected quotas for production.

With crop losses of winter barley down by 22% and wheat down by 15%, there may be new opportunities for some alternative crops to be grown. It has been suggested that sunflowers may be a good crop to sow in those fields that remain unsown to date. Whilst it is a short term gain,  sunflowers can be grown one in four years on rotation, to prevent disease transmission via the soil for the following seasons crops. Whilst this is a new initiative, subsequent to sunflower trials undertaken in the early 2000’s, it is thought that, with the right soil and climate conditions, sunflowers could offer a sustainable and suitable crop which can be planted later, and will survive after a wet winter.

Another alternative option, and profitable spring crop, could be grain maize. Whilst other grain seeds are in short supply, the grain maize market is thriving. With the current weather conditions grain maize is a good break crop,  as it significantly helps with weed control and soil conditioning.

Whilst the current climate suggests the 2024 harvest will be a very tricky time for most farmers, it is hoped that alternative crops may help mitigate the impact this year and contribute to more successful harvests in the future.

In the light of conflict and climate change, food security will become increasingly important and farmers in the UK will well advised to adapt as quickly as possible to ensure profitability and survival. 

For further advice or information on this or rural property matters, please contact Richard Greasby on 01285 883748 or

Cirencester Estate Agent

Patience, Gorgs and Alex Geikie, April 2021

We are a returning client of Butler Sherborn and we would highly recommend them if you’re looking to sell your property. The two properties we sold with BS were very different, but the BS team have always been extremely professional, approachable and friendly. And their communication skills are second to none! Thank you again!
— Patience, Gorgs and Alex Geikie