By Will Hyde of the Dorset County Show

Farmers love to talk about the weather. Our industry is so heavily dependent on the skies that sometimes it is all we talk about. However, this current wave of high temperatures is serious; the above-average levels of evaporation teamed with the lack of rain has left the countryside parched, and this brings with it a whole heap of challenges.

The risk of fire increases and so more fires than the usual average have been reported. These fires have either been in arable fields destroying standing crops and straw, or the fires have been in hay barns – sadly, not all of these fires are accidents.

The grassland stopped growing a long time ago and in this country the standard farm is not geared up to irrigate grassland. When you look at applying water artificially, you soon realise that the huge volumes needed are unviable and unachievable. The grassland has taken a huge hit on yield and therefore farmers have struggled to make large enough quantities of hay and silage to see them through the winter. On top of that they have already started to use winter supplies to supplement feed stock due to the lack of fresh grass.

The situation is severe and the weather forecasters do not seem to be talking about an end to this scorching weather, this is the driest my generation has seen it and our parents are comparing the conditions to the summer of 1976. We must consider this weather as an exception and also take consolation in the fact that everyone is in the same boat.

As ever we should also take time to search for the positives: the arable farmers are able to harvest their crops earlier this year with fewer interruptions from rain, and they are also reporting respectable yields and making savings by not having to spend on drying costs. The deficit of straw from the long winter has also meant that straw prices have stayed high - and it is of good quality. Farmers can’t deny that this weather is far better than the opposite – summer flooding, which we know can happen in the UK.

Let’s hope that we will soon have some serious rain and the heatwave will fast become a distant memory. Until then I would ask all readers to join the farming community in doing a collective rain dance – at this stage, I think that may be our only hope!