Sprout shortage looms as weather strikes

LARGE swathes of sprout growing country in eastern England have suffered from snowy and freezing conditions leading some farmers to warn of a Christmas shortage.

Growers in Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Kent and Sussex said many crops have had to be abandoned due to the poor weather.

Phillip Effingham, chairman of the British Brassica Growers’ Association, told the Daily Telegraph: “The last time we had snow like this in the week running up to Christmas was in the mid-1980s.

“We’ve ground to a halt in Lincolnshire. It’s been impossible to get any mechanical picking done. I think there over the next few days shoppers will notice a real shortage of loose sprouts.”

Love them or loathe them, sprouts are a Christmas tradition and 60 per cent of the entire UK crop is harvested in the fortnight leading into the 25th.

It is therefore essential for farmers to harvest the crop come rain, shine or snow to keep the punters happy.

Without mechanical pickers, however, TJ Clements, one of the country’s biggest sprout growers, has had to draft in hundreds of extras workers to pick the harvest.

The grower said 10 per cent of the crop may have to be destroyed.

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