The UK has been hit with unseasonably cold weather in recent weeks with parts of the country being blanketed in snow and experiencing freezing temperatures.
While many commuters were concerned of how they were going to make it into work it has caused even more havoc in the agricultural sector with many farmers worried that they will fail to capitalise on the recent horsemeat scandal. Following certain batches of 'beef' products being found to contain equine DNA many consumers had been looking to local outlets to source their meat but the cold weather has seen farmers complain of falling livestock numbers, rising feed bills, the delaying of planting and serious reductions in yields.
Rich Clothier, managing director of Wyke Farms, explained to The Grocer that dairy farmers had already had to spend large amounts of their budget on extra feed to ensure that milk volumes maintained the same level during 2012 when the country experienced one of the wettest summers on record. This trend has continued into 2013 with the cold snap affecting all types of farmers across the UK and he described the milk supply situation as now being "on a knife's edge".
"We could be looking at proper shortages. The sad thing is, there is bigger demand for British-made products because of the horsemeat scandal, and we may not be able to meet that," Mr Clothier told the news provider.
There has been a similar story with other farmers that are bringing up lambs. The spring is the traditional start to the lambing season but as parts of the UK have been blanketed by snow it is making it increasingly difficult for sheep farmers. The wintry weather has claimed the lives of many ewes and lambs and also drove up feed costs to points where some farmers are handing over up to 36p extra a day more per lamb.
The horsemeat scandal was highlighted as the ideal opportunity for local farmers to benefit from increased revenues but the harsh winter has set a number of people in the agricultural sector back.