Farmers are adapting to more unpredictable weather patterns caused by climate change, said the Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT) in response to the Environment Agency report published on Wednesday 13 October, showing how winter rain will increase by 13% by the 2080s. The CRT is a charitable organisation that restores a living, working countryside.

Tim Scott, tenant farmer at the CRT’s Lark Rise Farm in Cambridgeshire and CRT Trustee, said: “I have witnessed significant changes in Cambridgeshire weather over the past few years. Winter is stretching longer into spring, and we are experiencing heavier rain in autumn. As farmers, we are always thinking on our feet, but the weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable and harder to plan for in the longer-term.”

Scott concluded: “There are steps we can take to adapt to wetter weather. This spring, we used direct drilling methods to sow directly into the stubble, which disrupts the soil less and improves its resilience to wetter conditions. This autumn, the harvest was more protracted than usual, and we took longer to dry out the grain. On Lark Rise Farm, we are at risk of flooding, and so have reinstated water meadows alongside the brook that serve to protect our planted fields. These meadows are also havens for wildlife, as is the rest of our farm. We need to think longer-term about what steps we can take to adapt to a changing climate and share knowledge and best practice with each other.”