A shortage of carrots looks set to hit UK retailers this spring following the recent heavy flooding which continues to harm production, growers are warning.
More than half of the UK’s carrot-growing areas have been affected by the recent flooding, which continues to prevent producers from being able to put straw down to protect the crop from frost damage.
As the weather turns colder, the British Carrot Growers Association (BCGA) is warning that more wet weather and frost could “wipe out large amounts of the UK’s carrot harvest”.
Commercial carrot growers across the North of England and the Midlands including Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Shropshire and Lancashire, have all been affected.
BCGA spokeswoman Coral Russell said: “The flooding has caught a lot of growers out. It has stopped them spreading straw as they usually do at this time of year.
“More than 50% of the carrot-growing area in the UK has been affected. The only exception being those grown in East Anglia and Scotland.
“If we have a frost now or more wet weather then all the carrots that are not covered with straw will get damaged and be unsuited for the market. They’ll be rotten.”
Nottinghamshire carrot grower Mark Strawson added: “Since mid-September unprecedented levels of rainfall have made field operation extremely difficult with very few entirely dry days recorded over an eight-week period.
“This protracted wet period has not allowed growers to cover crops with straw which is vital to protect them from frost over the winter.
“With such a small area protected to date and field conditions remaining poor there is a very high risk of crop loss should the weather now turn cold. Such a situation would severely disrupt supplies to retail customers.”
Carrots are one of the nation’s favourite vegetable, with 75% of Britons saying they regularly eat carrots and more than 10 billion carrots eaten every year. British-grown carrots are available all-year-round, with 93% of the ones consumed in the UK currently grown here.