Farmers enduring worst weather conditions in living memory, reveals Winterton Councillor Helen Rowson
IT'S a scene becoming all too familiar around northern Lincolnshire.
Fields flooded after heavy rainfall are now as much a part of the landscape as the farm land itself.
Spells of torrential rain throughout December has further contributed to the flooding with some farmers seeing their land consumed by vast amounts of water.
Last month in Lincolnshire 92 millilitres of rain fell before Boxing Day – 174 per cent higher than the average rainfall for the whole of December.
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And the Met Office predicts that rain and wind will continue in the early parts of January, before settling slightly towards the middle of the month.
Helen Rowson owns two farms in North Lincolnshire, Walcot Hall Farm and TJ Rowson and Daughter in Winterton, both of which have been badly affected by flooding.
She said: "It has been a horrendous year. The constant rain is a complete nightmare.
"It is blocking dykes and watercourses and the water cannot get out of the Ancholme Valley.
"I have been able to plant barely anything because I can't get onto the land.
"Nothing that we grow likes constantly wet conditions.
"These are the worst conditions I can ever remember, but we feel fortunate that we don't have flooded homes.
"The water in the fields is up to knee level in places. If it doesn't start to dry up soon then this year will become an even bigger worry.
"We are struggling to prepare for Spring and are desperate for some dry weather."
There are currently no flood risk warnings for rivers in the Ancholme Valley or Trent Valley areas, but the standing water has been caused largely by fields unable to drain the rainfall properly.
Anthony Ogg, owner of College Farm in Alkborough, believes the problem stems from poor maintenance of dykes and watercourses.
He said: "The rain has affected us a bit and the run-offs are getting full.
"We have had some standing water on bits of land, but the problem comes because a lot of the dykes haven't been cleared out for years.
"It causes the water to back up and in the long-run can cost a lot to repair.
"The flooding is going to affect a lot of crops because there has been too much water on them.
"Into next year I am worried that crops will be even worse and we need a lot of dry weather now."
Fred Kirkby, system group secretary for the North Lincolnshire branch of the National Farmers Union, said: "It (2012) has been a very difficult year. Farmers must do what they can and wait for the flood water to drain.
"It is important to spend time maintaining dykes and working on land drainage, but there is very little they can do to prepare for this sort of flooding."