Sunteți pe pagina 1din 115

Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events;

Establishing a Methodology for Estimating Economic


Impacts on Agriculture

Prepared for: Defra


Sustainable and Competitive Farming Strategy
Area 3B Ergon House
c/o 17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

Prepared by: ADAS UK Ltd


and
University of Leeds

Date: June 2013

 
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Executive summary
Extreme weather events are unusual, severe or unseasonal changes in weather patterns and
have the potential to cause significant cost to society. The agricultural sector’s exposure to
and reliance on the climate makes it particularly vulnerable. It has been well documented that
there is an increasing incidence of extreme weather events which can be attributed to
anthropogenic climate change. Models to estimate the impact of climate change generally
predict only average changes to climate with limited ability to predict extreme weather
events. As such defining the economic impacts and responses of agriculture to extreme
weather events is difficult.
This project aims to address this limitation by establishing and testing a methodology to
estimate the economic impacts of extreme weather events on agriculture in England using
scenarios (rather than modelled outputs) of extreme weather events. The context for these
scenarios was to explore ‘worst case scenarios’ for extreme weather, taking account of
climate change in 2050.
The overall aim of the research is to develop a methodology to assess costs and impacts of
extreme weather events to inform policy. The specific objectives of this study were to answer
the following questions:
(a) What extreme events have the potential to incur substantial costs on agriculture?
(b) How do extreme events influence the behaviour of farmers, and the decision
criteria (e.g. approach to risk) they use? In particular, are there systematic failures
in the perception of risks?
(c) How can the economic cost associated with these events be estimated?

Five sequential but discrete tasks were carried out:


(i) A Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) of past extreme weather events
(ii) Developing eight extreme weather scenarios for 2050
(iii) Estimating the impact of these scenarios on key agricultural sectors (Arable,
Horticulture, Dairying, Sheep, Cattle, Pigs and Poultry)
(iv) Describing a method for using these impacts alongside economic datasets and
spatial mapping to estimate economic impacts
(v) Consideration of adaptations.

The REA covers the period from the late nineteenth century to present day and focused on
extreme weather events, economic impacts on agriculture and adaptive responses. It
identified a number of extreme weather events which were then used to inform the
development and characterisation of scenarios.
In developing the extreme weather scenarios for 2050 the insight and expertise of
policymakers, climate scientists and industry stakeholders was pooled via a workshop. Using
the workshop output alongside Met Office datasets and the REA findings, eight final
scenarios were agreed. These scenarios included: mild winters, localised flooding, wet
weather, seasonal dislocation and set combinations of extreme events, for example, a mild
dry winter followed by severe spring frost. The magnitude of each weather event was defined
using existing Met Office datasets and best available knowledge on feasible weather patterns
by 2050.
Using the eight defined extreme weather scenarios, ADAS experts in key agricultural sectors
(arable, horticulture, dairying, sheep, cattle, pigs and poultry) were tasked with estimating the
impacts of extreme weather on their sector. The impact metrics considered fell under four
key themes: environment, soil, lands and crops and livestock. Experts were given a common

i
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

briefing to allow some standardisation and were questioned on sector-specific impacts and
adaptations for each extreme weather scenario. Both quantitative and qualitative data was
collected for completeness.
From the quantitative data provided by sector experts and using Farm Business Survey data
as a baseline of economic performance an Excel-based model was developed. The model
translated both direct and indirect effects of weather on agricultural outputs and inputs across
nine robust farm types in England on a ‘per unit of production’ basis (per hectare or per head
of livestock). The model also allows for price impacts due to supply changes (both nationally
and globally). In order to scale up the impacts for particular weather events, published spatial
datasets were used to define the boundaries of likely impact. Datasets included the Defra
Census1, Environment Agency Flood zones and soils data (HOST soil wetness and drought
prone soils).
Nine steps are set out in the report to detail how the data can be used to derive aggregate
economic impacts. These are:
Step 1: Define the scenario weather event in terms of meteorological parameters,
specifying spatial and temporal boundaries.

Step 2: Estimate the change in agricultural production parameters associated with the
scenario for key sectors – enterprise yield, product quality, inputs and resources (soil,
infrastructure etc) – using expert opinion and/or empirical evidence as available.

Step 3: Calculate the 3-year ‘average’ economic performance for robust farm types
(FBS data) at farm level.

Step 4: Use robust farm type data (from Step 3) in combination with estimates of
change in volume due to extreme weather (from Step 2) to estimate the unit value
change in output for each crop or livestock type and for each input category.

Step 5: Define the spatial scale for the area affected by the weather event –
administrative boundaries (regions, counties) – and overlay with the Defra Census
dataset to calculate hectares of crop and head of livestock within that area.

Step 6: Use cropping and stocking data from (Step 5) to scale up the output for each
crop or livestock type and for each input category.

Step 7: Adjust for price impacts at UK and global scale.

Step 8: Aggregate the scaled impacts for each enterprise and cost category to
calculate total economic impact.

Step 9: Aggregate multiple year impacts

The analysis indicated that from the eight extreme weather scenarios considered, summer
flooding and consecutive wet autumn/winters would have the most detrimental impact on
economic performance per unit of agricultural land area. The impact of summer flooding
(Scenario 1) was estimated to be a net economic loss of £776/ha while consecutive wet
autumn/winters (Scenario 2) led to an estimated net economic loss of £537/ha.

1
Agricultural Census data is collected annually by survey from a sample of commercial farmers and growers; the data is
confidential and is for Defra’s internal use only. Aggregated data is published online at
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-environment-food-rural-affairs/series/structure-of-the-agricultural-
industry#publications

ii
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

When per hectare data was scaled up using Census data and other spatial datasets, the
most significant extreme weather event in terms of total economic impact was ‘seasonal
dislocation’ (Scenario 5), a 12-month sequence of unseasonal weather events. The total
economic impact of a seasonal dislocation scenario was estimated at a net loss of £1,361
million. This is attributed to it being a nationwide event, whilst flooding events are more
localised and demonstrates the impact different extreme events can have over different
scales. A number of inter-sector differences were also observed between extreme weather
scenarios. Horticulture generally showed some of the biggest potential losses and poultry
some of the smallest due to the largely indoor-based production system.
All scenarios were associated with a net economic loss apart from scenarios 3 (Mild Winters)
and 7 (Drought with Extreme High Summer Temperatures), where commodity price
increases offset volume production losses. The net impact was an estimated economic
benefit of £184 million and £23 million for scenarios 3 and 7 respectively. These private
benefits are associated with a societal loss as consumers will pay higher prices for food.
Adaptation measures were also considered on a farm scale for each extreme weather
scenario for each farm sector. The scope for adaptations to be implemented varied widely
depending on the extreme weather scenario and the farm sector. High value horticulture
crops already demonstrated a number of adaptations and an ability to take up adaptations as
required in the face on extreme weather events. A key issue with adaptation measures is
uptake, as most measures incur a cost, while the benefits rely on the incidence of relevant
extreme weather events. Whilst suggestions for sector adaptations showed overlap with the
Defra list, there were additional ideas for adaptations which merit consideration and follow up
work.

The analysis outlined offers a framework for quantifying impacts rather than presenting a
definitive analysis of the impact of extreme weather. The eight scenarios outlined are not
exhaustive and the model has to capacity to be used to test additional variants including
policy changes and incorporate emerging evidence. The methodology has a number of
limitations and areas for further work are highlighted.

The most challenging aspect was securing reliable quantitative estimates of impact by sector
for the eight scenarios described due to the heterogeneity of farmland, production systems
and management, as well as responses and adaptations. More work is necessary in this
area and it is suggested that localised case studies would provide a suitable approach. There
are also limitations in terms of datasets (detail and availability) and assessing medium-term
impacts.

iii
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Acknowledgements
This report has been prepared by John Elliott, ADAS together with Claire Quinn and Dorian
Speakman from the University of Leeds. Other members of the ADAS team include Lucy
Wilson and Isabel Nias (spatial datasets), Camilla Durrant and a number of sector experts
(sector impacts).

We wish to acknowledge all those involved in the sector workshop at the University of Leeds
for their contribution to the development of extreme weather scenarios namely, Prof Tim
Benton (UK Champion for Global Food Security), Alex Webb (EA Climate Change
Adaptation Team), Andy Challinor (Professor of Climate Impacts, SEE), Suraje Dessai
(Professor of Climate Change Adaptation, SEE), John Marsham (Academic Research
Fellow, SEE), Dr Tom Osborne (National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of
Reading) and Nigel Penlington (Environment Programme Manager, BPEX).

We also wish to acknowledge members of the Defra steering group who provided valuable
contributions and feedback to the research team and in particular Paul Bradley (Climate
Adaptation, Defra), Marion Rawlins (Cereal and Hortic Policy, Defra) and Kathryn Humphrey
(Committee on Climate Change) for their policy steer and Clemens Matt, Project Officer.

iv
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Contents
1. Introduction ..............................................................................................1
1.1 Study objectives ........................................................................................................................2
1.2 Methodology ..............................................................................................................................3
2. Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA)..............................................................4
2.1 Flood events ..............................................................................................................................4
2.2 Drought events ..........................................................................................................................6
2.3 High summer temperatures .......................................................................................................8
2.4 High winter temperatures.........................................................................................................10
2.5 Severe winters.........................................................................................................................11
2.6 Evidence of adaptive response by farmers..............................................................................11
2.7 The economic and policy context for adaptation......................................................................14
3. Extreme weather scenarios......................................................................15
3.1 Extreme weather events in 2050 .............................................................................................15
3.2 Selection of Scenarios.............................................................................................................16
4. Establishing a method for estimating economic costs ..............................20
4.1 Key sectors and indicator enterprises......................................................................................20
4.2 Impact metrics .........................................................................................................................21
4.3 Baseline economics of production ...........................................................................................22
4.4 Approach for estimating economic impact ...............................................................................24
4.5 Validation of economic impact method ....................................................................................27
5. Economic analysis of scenarios ................................................................29
5.1 Yield and price assumptions....................................................................................................29
5.2 Economic impacts ...................................................................................................................30
6. The role of climate change adaptation.....................................................33
6.1 Adaptation measures for climate change.................................................................................33
6.2 Possible adaptation in response to extreme weather scenarios ..............................................33
6.3 Farmer uptake of climate change adaptation measures ..........................................................35
7. Discussion................................................................................................37

Appendix 1: Bibliography ..............................................................................38

Appendix 2: REA Evidence on past extreme weather events .........................41

Appendix 3: Scenario narratives....................................................................67

v
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Appendix 4: Impact of extreme weather on agriculture by sector .................76

Appendix 5: Spatial mapping methodology and datasets ..............................97

Appendix 6: A worked example of economic impacts (Scenario 1) ..............100

Appendix 7: Defra list of climate change adaptation measures ...................106

List of Tables
Table 1: Characteristics of major drought and heat wave years in the UK .......6

Table 2: Gross Margin for major crops in 1995 compared with 1994 ...............7

Table 3: Impact of drought on yield and output of Other Crops  in 1995..........8

Table 4: Summary of Costs of Extreme Events on Agriculture in the UK.........12

Table 5: Change to extreme rainfall intensity compared to a 1961‐90 
baseline ........................................................................................................16

Table 6: Summary of Extreme Weather Scenarios .........................................18

Table 7: Indicator enterprises........................................................................20

Table 8: Climate change impacts from CCRA .................................................22

Table 9: Area of cropping affected by flooding of EA Flood Zone 3 ................27

Table 10: Summary yield impacts of extreme weather across agricultural 
sectors ..........................................................................................................29

Table 11: Estimated impacts of the eight extreme weather scenarios on 
output and input price ..................................................................................30

Table 12: Key climate change adaptation measures identified for 
extreme weather scenarios ...........................................................................34

Table 12: Keyword search terms ...................................................................41

Table 13: Summary of past mild winters .......................................................69

Table 14: Arable sector impacts by scenario..................................................76

Table 15: Horticulture sector impacts by scenario .........................................79

vi
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 16: Dairy sector impacts by scenario....................................................84

Table 17: Cattle and sheep sector impacts by scenario ..................................87

Table 18: Pig sector impacts by scenario .......................................................90

Table 19: Poultry sector impacts by scenario.................................................94

Table 20: Soil wetness classes, defined by duration of wetness at depths 
of 40 and 70 cm.............................................................................................98

Table 21: Area of cropping affected by flooding using Soil Wetness Class......99

Table 22: Estimates of output and input change due to Scenario 1..............100

Table 23: FBS enterprise output for crops across robust farm types ............101

Table 24: Farm Business Survey (FBS) detailed outputs and inputs (3‐year 
average 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12) ....................................................102

Table 25: Estimates of change in volume of variable and fixed cost 
categories under Scenario 1 ........................................................................103

Table 26: Scale of agricultural enterprises within EA Flood Zones 3 and 2 ...103

Table 27: Total impacts of Scenario 1 on farm enterprise output of 
enterprises within EA Flood Zones 3............................................................104

Table 28: Weighted change estimated for enterprise output across all 
robust farm types........................................................................................104

Table 29: Volume and price adjusted estimates of net economic impact 
of Scenario 1 (Year 1) ..................................................................................105

List of Figures
Figure 1: Mean temperature (0c), 2005‐2011 ..................................................1

Figure 2: Rainfall in England (mm), 2005 – 2011 ..............................................1

Figure 3: Impact clusters for agriculture identified in the CCRA .....................21

Figure 4: Farm Business Income broken down by cost centre for livestock 
farms (2011/12) ............................................................................................23

vii
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Figure 5: Estimated economic impact of extreme weather scenarios 1‐8 
per hectare of land affected ..........................................................................30

Figure 6: Estimated total economic impact of extreme weather scenarios 
1‐8 31

Figure 7: Met Office Summer rainfall in England from 1910‐2012..................67

Figure 8: Autumn rainfall totals in England....................................................68

Figure 9: Absolute Daily Maximum Temperatures: Heat Wave of August 
2003..............................................................................................................73

Figure 10: Summer Heatwaves Daytime Maximum ºC: baseline for 1960‐
2004..............................................................................................................74

Figure 11: Illustration of GIS mapping of Defra agricultural census and EA 
flood (Zone 3) data........................................................................................97

viii
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

1. Introduction
Extreme weather events are unusual, severe or unseasonal changes in weather patterns
that can occur on time scales as short as hours and include droughts, heat-waves, floods
and storms. They can be defined as occurring less than 5% of the time and are much less
predictable than climate change. Extreme events have the potential to cause significant cost
to society and the agricultural sector’s exposure and reliance on the climate makes it
particularly vulnerable. This research focuses on developing a methodology to assess the
costs and impacts of extreme weather events to inform policy decisions on adaptation in
Agriculture.

An indication of the seasonal variation in weather between years for the four seasons in
England is shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2 in terms of temperature and rainfall data for
recent years. However, this hides much greater variation at a shorter timescale, although
much is within the bounds of what farmers and growers expect and plan for.

Figure 1: Mean temperature (0c), 2005-2011

Figure 2: Rainfall in England (mm), 2005 – 2011

1
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Extreme events such as flash flooding can occur on a timescale of minutes or hours, whilst
heat waves require at least five consecutive days where temperature exceeds the average
temperature by 5°C (World Meteorological Organisation definition (Frich et al, 2002)). The
timescale of extreme weather events is also influenced by the type of extreme weather event
with some typically lasting longer than others, for example storms typically occur over a short
timescale whilst others, such as droughts can last for years (see Rapid Evidence
Assessment and Benestad, 2005).

The increasing incidence of extreme events can be attributed to anthropogenic climate


change (IPCC, 2012) and it is recognised that extreme events are likely to increase in the
near future and pose an increasing threat. The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA)2
was undertaken to consider the impact of longer term change in weather by sector (including
agriculture) and provides a benchmark against which extreme weather events will take
place. IPCC (2012) has concluded that it is “very likely” (90-100% probability) the length of
warm spells or heat waves will increase over most land areas by the end of the 21st century.
This indicates the duration of extreme weather events experienced currently and in the past
will be longer by the 2050s and extreme events lasting for months or years rather than days
could become more typical.

Recent research, such as that of Hansen et al (2012), demonstrates evidence for increasing
frequency of temperature anomalies, a current 80% chance of a ‘hot’ summer due to climate
change (‘hot’ defined as 3 standard deviations from the mean), and predictions of ‘hot’
summers becoming the norm and 5 standard deviation anomalies becoming the extreme.
Other recent research on extreme rainfall in the UK such as the assessment by Jones et al
(2012) and the spatial modelling by Atyeo & Walshaw (2012) is also relevant in scoping
future extremes. While extreme events are challenging for climate models to predict and are
currently far from reliable, improvements in extreme event prediction are underway (Walker
Institute, 2009).

1.1 Study objectives


Techniques to estimate the impact of climate change have mainly relied on models of
projected average changes in climate which have limited capacity to account for extreme
events. This project addresses this limitation by establishing and testing a methodology to
estimate the economic impacts of extreme weather events on agriculture in England using
scenarios (rather than modelled outputs) of future extreme events to provide information for
analysis. The methodology also considers the influence that extreme weather events have
on the attitudes, actions and approach to future business planning of farmers.

The project is expected to answer following questions:


1) What extreme events have the potential to incur substantial costs on agriculture?
(based on Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA))
2) How do extreme events influence the behaviour of farmers, and the decision criteria
(e.g. approach to risk) they use? In particular, are there systematic failures in the
perception of risks? (based on REA)
3) How can the economic cost associated with these events be estimated?

2
http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climate/government/risk‐assessment/

2
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

1.2 Methodology
The research team from ADAS and the University of Leeds used the following approach:

Step 1: Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) of past events. This review of the literature
provided a basis for scoping the extent of different extreme weather events and associated
impacts, and informed the development and characterisation of scenarios. The REA was led
by the University of Leeds and is reported in chapter 2 with a detailed summary of evidence
in Appendix 2.

Step 2: Scenarios development. A workshop was held at the University in February 2013 to
capture the insight and expertise of policymakers, climate scientists and industry
stakeholders in defining what extreme weather scenarios should be used. Follow-up work
with the Defra steering group and referencing Met Office datasets was used by the
University of Leeds to expand and define 8 scenarios. The scenarios are described in
chapter 3 with a detailed narrative in Appendix 3.

Step 3: Expert elicitation. A group of ADAS agricultural experts were identified and tasked
with estimating the impacts of extreme weather on key sectors. Initially this was a broadly
based analysis which was subsequently linked to the eight scenarios developed in step 2. As
each expert has sector-specific knowledge, the aim was not to seek consensus between
them but to secure a consistent approach; this relied on providing a common briefing and
framework, and using an iterative approach to challenge and validate responses. The
estimated extreme weather impacts and possible adaptations are detailed in Appendix 4 (by
sector).

Step 4: Modelling economic impacts. An excel-based model was developed by ADAS to


translate the direct and indirect effects of weather on agricultural outputs and inputs across
the nine robust farm types in England. It uses Farm Business Survey data as a baseline for
economic performance and applies impacts to key parameters. The model uses the
estimated impacts on sector outputs and inputs (as set out in Step 3) and allows for price
impacts due to supply changes (nationally and globally). In scaling up the impacts, the model
allows for the spatial extent of weather effects as well as the distribution of enterprises
across England. The spatial modelling approach and links to relevant datasets is set out in
appendix 5. The model approach is set out with detailed steps in chapter 4, with a worked
example in Appendix 6.

A short overview of the economic analysis of all eight scenarios is given in Chapter 5.

Step 5: Adaptations. A summary analysis of adaptation responses is set out in chapter 6.


This maps the proposed adaptations from the ADAS experts against a wider Defra list and
looks at the evidence on uptake.

The analysis in this report offers a framework for quantifying impacts rather than presenting
a definitive analysis of the impact of extreme weather. As such, the scenarios are not
exhaustive and the model can be used to test additional variants, in response to policy
priorities or emerging evidence on climate change and its impacts. These other issues are
considered in a short discussion section in chapter 7.

3
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

2. Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA)


The REA focused on capturing evidence of past extreme weather events, with an initial
reference period of 1950 to date. However, this was extended to the late nineteenth century
in order to extend the evidence base. This section brings together the evidence by event
type, focusing on agricultural impacts and highlighting economic consequences where
recorded. The section also considers the aggregate evidence on adaptation issues. A
detailed record of the references is available in Appendix 2.

The review was informed by documented impacts of extreme weather on agriculture rather
than setting out to provide a comprehensive record of extreme weather events. It was limited
to English language based records covering events in England (with one exception for
Wales, as the case was analogous to England). The review is therefore not an inventory of
weather events impacting on agriculture but rather it details specific events which have been
reported or studied in order to highlight the scope and scale of impacts. This provides a
basis for developing extreme weather event scenarios for 2050 (see chapter 3 of this report)
alongside climate change projections. In turn, these scenarios represent worst case
outcomes in response to single and combined weather events and provide a basis for
developing the methodology for estimating economic impacts.

2.1 Flood events


Flooding in summer: 2007
The floods of 2007 affected a wide area of the South Midlands, and South and East
Yorkshire. The heavy rainfall occurred in late spring and late summer 2007. During May to
July, rainfall in southern Britain was 223% the total of the 1961-1990 average for May to
July. Flooding was more severe than the floods of 1947 which were the most widespread
floods of the twentieth century (Marsh, 2008).

Crop damage and associated yield loss were the most reported impacts. In flooded areas
cereal yields were down by approximately 40% and quality reduced due to soil
contamination and sprouting where harvest was delayed.

As a consequence of the 2007 floods just under 8% (6 out of 78) of interviewed farmers
reported that they were unable to plant winter crops or potatoes in the following spring. Soil
compaction and a reduction in the earthworm population is thought to potentially reduce
yields in the following years (Posthumus et al., 2009).

Straw yield and quality was also poor. Across the UK, winter wheat yields were 6% lower in
2007 than 2006. Additional costs resulted from the need to add agro-chemicals to make
harvesting possible after flooding. There were additional harvesting costs and land
reinstatement costs. In the aftermath of the summer 2007 floods there was a problem of
soils staying waterlogged for a prolonged period, up until spring 2008 in some cases. It was
found that a small number of farms suffered the highest losses and smaller farms suffered
disproportionately. It was not stated by Posthumus et al. why this was the case; the greatest
losses were incurred by those farms typed as ‘general cropping’, mostly due to reduced
yields, or in some cases, total crop loss (Posthumus et al., 2009).

The second highest level of losses was from the loss of income from livestock and debris
clearing costs. Grasslands were affected through losses of hay and silage as well as
grazing. There were increased costs as a result of moving livestock and reseeding pasture.
Other reported impacts were losses of livestock (due to drowning) and reduced milk
production (causes not specified), additional labour, extra feed purchases, additional slurry
disposal (due to livestock being kept indoors), and extra treatment costs due to disease.
Livestock farms were affected indirectly with increased costs of moving livestock to shelter
during the grazing season and additional costs arising from this, such as labour costs. Costs

4
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

to livestock farmers were increased by the need to purchase extra feed. Whilst direct losses
of livestock were low, there were increased costs for treatment of diseases, such as dairy
mastitis and lameness. In addition, there were costs for repairing fences, gates and hedges,
where the need is higher than for arable crops (Posthumus et al., 2009).

At a field level, the greatest losses affected horticultural produce, such as vegetable and
salad crops, which were unfit for sale. Horticultural farms had relatively higher costs
associated with repairs needed to irrigation equipment. The potato crop saw 2.6 % of the
area spoiled by flooding though a larger proportion was lost to blight as a result of the wet
weather conditions (Posthumus et al., 2009). In 2007, the floods had a significant impact on
the potato crop. Yields were low and there was greening of potatoes. Around 2000 ha of
crop was lost.

Flooding in summer: 1879 and 1880


In both 1879 and 1880 the weather was particularly wet in the main growing and ripening
seasons. Abnormal rainfall was reported in the Midlands, central southern England and East
Anglia. In 1879 the rainfall from May to July was 184% the average May-July period (1971-
2000) for England and Wales (Marsh, 2008). Brown (1987) describes the impact on cereal
yields as 50-75% of the average of the years 1873-77. The following year saw harvests
similarly affected though there were areas of the country that were much less affected, such
as Cornwall. Wheat was the worst affected crop. Livestock farming was affected as pastures
were waterlogged. The problems were exacerbated by a dry spring in 1880 reducing grass
growth and rain affecting haymaking. As a result livestock were reported to be underweight
and “out of condition” Brown (1987). However, disease compounded the problems, such as
foot rot and liver fluke affecting sheep, the latter reportedly killing nearly 10% of sheep in two
years. The worst affected areas were the unusually wet Midlands such as Leicestershire,
where there was as much as a 37% decline in sheep numbers by 1881 compared to 1878.
There were also outbreaks of pleuro-pneumonia affecting cattle and in 1880-81 foot and
mouth disease which started in eastern England.

Flood following a drought: 1912


The combination of a drought being followed by unseasonal heavy rainfall during the main
growing season occurred with dramatic effects most notably in Norfolk, where up to 200mm
rain fell in one day in August 1912. Generally the pattern of rainfall affected eastern regions
most severely. There was “enormous damage” to hay and corn crops, with hay being
washed out to sea (Mill and Salter, 1912). A large area of land remained underwater for the
whole of the following winter. In Suffolk hay crops were spoiled and corn was stunted; in
Essex much grain was reported as damaged. That which survived was “then subsequently
swamped in August” resulting in threshed corn losing 35% of its weight (Mill and Salter,
1912).

In Hampshire, Mill and Salter (1912) report on the impacts from the dry Spring followed by
the heavy rain. There was just 2.5mm rainfall recorded in April, which caused a “great check”
to hay and straw. This was followed by an unusually wet June and resulted in an “immense
loss” to farmers. The rest of the crop was so badly damaged it was only fit for animal feed. In
stark contrast, 100mm above average rainfall fell in August, and as this was during harvest
time agricultural losses were reported to be “heavy”. The wheat crop ended up being fed to
pigs and the straw grew to 2 feet in height instead of the usual 3-4 feet (Mill and Salter,
1912).

Other parts of England also suffered. In Devon, the weather in June was reported as
“disastrous” for hay and much of what would have otherwise been a good crop rotted on the
ground. In August there was little or no corn saved, with a “great waste of the crop” with
losses also reported in Herefordshire (Mill and Salter, 1912).

5
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Flooding and Contamination of agricultural land


In certain areas flooding can lead to contamination of river sediments on flood plain sites in
agricultural use. This is a particular problem where nineteenth century mining activities in
upland areas such as the Pennines results in higher concentrations of metals from spoil
heaps or re-workings which leads to a washout of metals into the river system and
deposition on land when flooded. One study on the River Swale in North Yorkshire, looking
into the effect of the floods of 2000, found that concentrations of Cadmium, Lead and Zinc
exceeded MAFF guidelines (Dennis et al., 2003). At 35% of monitoring sites along the
Swale, lead was above guideline levels of 300 mg/kg (at over 530mg/kg).

A previous analysis in 1996 recorded very much higher concentrations of Cd, Pb, and Zn
than after the 2000 floods; this was found to be most likely because of a dilution effect of
greater sediment loads in the 2000 floods (ibid). Consequently catchments like the River
Swale with historic mines pose a flood related risk of contaminated sediments on floodplains,
and an increase in flood frequency would exacerbate that hazard (Dennis et al., 2003).

Flooding and soil erosion: Impacts from intense falls of rain


Soil erosion risk is posed by episodes of intense rainfall, although farmers may not directly
perceive the loss of soil as a major cause of concern (Posthumus et al., 2008). Southern
England is at risk from muddy floods after monthly rainfall totals of 200-300mm, which is
twice or three times the average. Cereals are vulnerable if planted in large areas on slopes.
Subsequently, once rills and gullies have been established, muddy floods can take place
with much lower rainfall totals of 4mm per day. The link between an increase in muddy
floods and a change in land use from pasture to arable has been highlighted by Boardman
(2010). In a study of muddy floods in the Sussex Downs in late autumn 1982, in an area of
50 km², 66 sites reported erosion. One site incurred a clean-up cost of £64,000 which was
met by the local council (Stammers and Boardman, 1984). Even gently sloping land
experiencing heavy but by no means extreme falls of rain has been demonstrated to be
vulnerable to muddy floods (Evans, 2004).

2.2 Drought events


Wreford and Adger (2010) looked at the relative impact of droughts on UK agriculture over a
time period from 1975 to 2006. The drought events studied are summarised in Table 1.
Table 1: Characteristics of major drought and heat wave years in the UK

Source: Wreford and Adger (2010:281)

6
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

By studying how yields were impacted over successive major droughts this gave them
insight as to whether there was adaptation and therefore increasing resilience shown by
farmers in response to droughts.

The variability of yields of arable crops, potatoes, oilseed rape and, to a lesser extent, wheat
decreased after each successive drought. Barley yields did not respond with any particular
pattern through the succession of droughts.

Sugar beet is generally supposed to be drought resistant in the UK (Jaggard et al., 1998).
However after having been very negatively affected by the 1975-6 drought, sugar beet
continued to be adversely impacted by drought, and the level of impacts from successive
major droughts did not reduce.(Wreford and Adger, 2010). Sugar beet in the UK, at around
52°N, (i.e. Cambridge) is more susceptible to summer drought than on land in mainland
Europe at the same latitude; the European mainland tends to have higher summer rainfall
totals and soils with greater water storage capacity. In the UK a maximum of 17% of land
has been irrigated and this level was predicted to drop due to pressure on abstraction
licenses. Average losses of sugar beet to drought are over 10%. Over the 16 years from
1980 to1995, losses due to drought ranged from zero to 365,000 tonnes, equivalent to
27.5% of production in 1995, a significant drought year. In 12 out of the 16 years, losses due
to drought exceeded 2% of national yield averaging at 179,000 tonnes. In comparison with
losses to disease (virus yellows) losses from droughts were almost always larger (Jaggard et
al., 1998).

For livestock Wreford and Adger (2010) assumed that there was likely to be a delay effect
from droughts as farmers sold stock after a poor year and effectively increased production in
the short term. This seems to be reflected in sheep production where in the immediate year
of drought, production increased but fell subsequently; overall the impact of drought on
sheep production levels did not appear to reduce over time. For the pig sector, drought had
an impact on production but since 1975-76 there has been a generally reduced level of
impact. Poultry has shown an increased resilience to drought, so that by the 2003 production
during drought actually increased (Wreford and Adger, 2010).

A summary of impacts of drought on key agricultural sectors is given below.

Arable crops 
The drought of 1995 exerted a positive impact on arable crop yields: wheat, barley and
oilseed rape. Sugar beet reported the highest income surplus (due to higher prices) but this
was countered by higher costs due to higher temperatures (Subak, 1997). In the study by
Subak (ibid.) it is indicated that cereals have done moderately well in hotter years such as
1983, 1990 and 1995; 1976 was an exception where yields fell below the rising trend. In
terms of net effect of the warm temperatures and drought in 1995, the additional costs for
cooling of the crop were offset by lower expenses for herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.
The Gross Margins (less area payments) for major crops are summarised below:
Table 2: Gross Margin for major crops in 1995 compared with 1994
Crop Net output change (£ million) Gross margin (£ million)
Wheat +69 +128
Barley +16 +66
Oilseed Rape +20 +10
Sugar Beet -6 +30
Potatoes -40 +390
Total +59 +624
Source: Subak (1997:49)

7
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

The autumn of 1989 was very dry for seed bed preparation with very high wear and tear on
machinery (Harker, 1990). By May 1990, drought stress was affecting parts of central and
southern England, which had 10% of the average rainfall for the month. Spring cereals and
beans were most vulnerable. June rain benefited many crops but was not sufficient to
improve those on light soils. Drought persisted in some southern areas with no rain for up to
24 consecutive days in July 1990, which was also warmer than average. Harvesting was
reported to be excellent but yields from late sown crops were very variable (Harker, 1990).

In 1995 cereal disease increased and aphid and pea moth activity was unusually early
(Subak, 1997).

Horticulture 
The drought of 1995 affected vegetable production due to yield impacts. Potatoes suffered
the largest loss in terms of production whilst root crops such as carrots, parsnips and onions
were also affected and additional pesticides were needed to counteract cutworms which
thrived in the hotter weather (Subak, 1997). The yields and output values for other crops are
summarised in Table 3:
Table 3: Impact of drought on yield and output of Other Crops in 1995
% yield change from Output change
1991-94 average (£ million)
Hops -14 ?
Stock peas -2 -0.5
Stock beans -14 -5.6
Brussels sprouts -7 -1.7
Cabbage -5 -3.8
Cauliflower -19 -12.4
Forage (estimated impact on dairy herd) -20 -68.0
Carrots -2 -2.0
Beetroot -15 ?
Onions -11 -11.0
Tomatoes +15 +10.1
Cucumbers +10 ?
Ornamentals ? -3.3
Leeks ? -0.9
Source: Subak (1997:50)

Drought in 2006 also caused problems with drying out of soil to such an extent that it was
impossible to transplant horticultural crops. Demand for water was so high for transplanting
that irrigation was impossible (Collier et al., 2008).

Livestock 
As a result of the drought of 1995 the livestock sector saw an increase in costs for
purchased feeds in the South and East (Subak, 1997). Similarly, in 1989 drought in
September led to a shortage of grazing and poor hay and silage crops (Harker, 1990). The
1995 drought was accompanied by a loss of fertility in pigs and poultry. However, population
figures for sheep and cattle had been in decline over the last five years making the impact of
the 1995 drought on livestock production difficult to discern (Subak, 1997).

2.3 High summer temperatures


A summary of the evidence on impacts of high summer temperatures on key agricultural
sectors is given below.

8
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Arable crops 
Overall, yields were down on the long term average in both 1989 and 1990. Winter cereals
fared better from the hot dry summer due to having a good root system which had developed
over the winter. Cereal development was advanced. The drought in 1990 and high
temperatures reduced the period for grain filling, and some crops ripened prematurely with a
high proportion of shrivelling, with the result that yields were down. However in northern
England, crops yields were up, especially on the good soils in Humberside (Unsworth et al.,
1993b).

The high temperatures and drought of 1990 resulted in a lower incidence of leaf diseases
reliant on rainsplash such as mildew and leaf spot. For cereals brown rust was more of a
problem than the usual yellow rust. Powdery mildew occurred earlier on sugar beet than
previously and in 1990 foliar diseases had the largest impact. (Unsworth et al., 1993a). The
root disease “take all” infecting roots and stems had a high incidence as a result of a mild
winter, moist cool spring and an early dry summer affecting the 1989/90 crop (Unsworth et
al., 1993b).

Viral diseases were a severe problem due to a high number of aphids. Aphids also caused
direct damage to crops, though they declined during episodes of the hottest weather in
summer 1990 (Unsworth et al., 1993b).

Horticulture
If potatoes could be irrigated then yields and quality were good, though un-irrigated crops
were affected by drought; water stress was a problem in the Midlands and North West. In
1990 maincrop potatoes were damaged by rain in September 1990. Many farmers opted to
put potatoes into storage due to low prices in 1990. However, the temperature of the tubers
was too high for immediate storage which led to sprouting and an older state of tubers at
harvest (Unsworth et al., 1993b).

Damage by cutworms most frequently affects lettuce, though root crops such as beet and
potatoes were the most reported hosts. Cutworm incidence is associated with warm dry
weather, though migration by cutworms is another contributing factor. There were large
outbreaks of cutworm in 1949 and 1976, and the incidence in1976 was accompanied by
high temperatures: mean temperatures were in the order of 15-20°C. There is circumstantial
evidence that rain or irrigation on potatoes reduced cutworm damage (Bowden et al., 1983).

High temperatures during development can cause yield loss of all horticultural crops.
Vegetable crops were highly variable depending on soil type, management and if irrigation
was available (Unsworth et al., 1993b). High temperatures in 1990 affected lettuce, cabbage
and sprouts by causing bolting. Critical times of crops are during flowering and seed
development stages.

For seeds, the hot summer of 2006 led to shortages of certain seed varieties in 2007.
Furthermore, hybridisation is hampered by extreme high temperatures as...

“...breeders rely on simultaneous flowering for both parents and plant at different
times to achieve this. This has proved to be increasingly difficult in recent years

(Unsworth 1993b:5).

However, heat waves can have a beneficial effect by inducing dormancy and delaying
population growth in certain pests. Nevertheless a background of general warming has been
predicted to initiate aphid activity 9 days earlier in the 2020s and 20 days earlier in the
2050s. The effect of rain and rain splash on pests and diseases will depend on the species
and timing of the event (Collier et al., 2008)

9
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Grapes and fruit developed early after the mild winters of 1988 and 1989 but were very badly
affected by the late frosts which exceeded the positive impact on yields of the 1990 summer
– those areas unaffected by frosts had excellent yields (Unsworth et al., 1993a).

Livestock
Milk output was affected negatively between April and October 1990. Livestock were
affected by heat stress, although animal health was reportedly good – there may have been
an impact on ewes and lambing. (Unsworth et al., 1993b)

2.4 High winter temperatures


A key impact of high winter temperatures is an increase in pests and diseases in crops. A
key example is the 1988-90 period, when there was an increased incidence of bird pests
surviving the two mild winters, but damage was lower because of other natural food supplies
not necessarily available in a severe winter. There was an upsurge in damage to emerging
crops by mice, and slugs damaged soft fruit and vegetable crops. Because 1988/89 was
relatively wet, re-sowing of crops was necessary. There was a high level of aphids despite
use of aphicides (Unsworth et al., 1993a).

Many weeds survived the mild winters due to a lack of frosts though this did not affect early
sown cereal and oil seed rape which outgrew the weeds. By October 1990 high levels of
mildew were reported on barley and wheat (Harker, 1990, Unsworth et al., 1993a). There
were also outbreaks of yellow rust and barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), necessitating
unusually large volumes of crop protection sprays to be used. Crops experienced unusually
early growth of autumn sown cereals with the result that the application of fertiliser and
growth regulators had to be retimed (Unsworth et al., 1993a)

Arable crops 
Generally the incidence on powdery mildew is strongly related to the number of frost days
during February and March (Asher and Williams, 1991). This exerts a stronger influence
than frosts earlier in the winter and was found to be a stronger influence than other factors.
Warm summer and infrequent rain favours the disease. Geographically the pattern of
powdery mildew follows a “well defined pattern”. Beginning in the South East, in Essex, the
diseases spread northwards into East Anglia by the end of August in most years. Its
dispersal into western areas is only during more favourable years and it rarely occurs in the
north of England (Asher and Williams, 1991).

The main problems were in storage facilities due to disease or early sprouting of seed crops
(which could be offset if such tubers could be planted early too) (Unsworth et al., 1993a).

Horticultural crops
Crops were advanced and yields were good, though unrefrigerated stores had problems with
rot, especially onions. However some orchards were decimated by a late frost occurring in
March and April 1990 after the mild winter, though others were unaffected. In April 1990,
severe frosts damaged tender plants particularly oil seed rape, barley, and plum and pear
blossom (Harker, 1990, Unsworth et al., 1993a).

Livestock 
Grass grew in most parts of the UK during the winters of 1988-89 but the summer was hot
and dry leading to shortages in the south west where stock famers had to buy in feed stuff,
and leave stock outside for longer. There was an increase in calf pneumonia and lugworm,
and parasites affecting sheep in 1989 (Unsworth et al., 1993a).

10
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

2.5 Severe winters


The impact of the severe winter of 1947 was exacerbated by the previous summer of 1946
which was wet, particularly in August and September; the result was that there were severe
shortages of food and fodder for livestock. The severe winter of 1947 caused thousands of
sheep to be lost, as recorded in the community of Cwm Twyi in Wales. They could not be
replaced with sheep from the lowlands as they needed to be bred in the landscape. On one
farm, no ewes were sold until 1952. Many cows were on sale in the local market due to the
shortage of fodder but prices were low and farmers could not help each other by sharing
feed due to the shortages. The impact was acutely felt because of the dependency on hill
farming in such communities (Jones et al., 2012).

2.6 Evidence of adaptive response by farmers


Adaptation to Floods 
In the aftermath of the summer 2007 floods affecting the south Midlands and parts of
Yorkshire many of those farmers interviewed by Posthumus et al. (2009) thought a repetition
of the floods was very unlikely in the near future. However 33 out of 78 farmers questioned
were considering a range of responses which included changing land use on floodplains
(stopping potato growing or winter cereals) or converting arable land into grassland,
improving drainage or ensuring enough silage or hay was available, reducing herd size or
entering an environmental stewardship scheme. This group of farmers had suffered
significantly higher losses related to damages to arable crops, buildings and machinery. In
the West Midlands, there was a greater level of acceptance of flood risk by farmers than in
both Yorkshire & the Humber and Oxfordshire and therefore greater emphasis was put on
resilience (such as having buffer stocks of grazing ground or fodder) and warning as a
adaptive response by farmers there (Posthumus et al., 2009).

In terms of soil erosion over arable land in the South Downs, this had been a recent
phenomenon since the 1970s and policy responses were not yet in place (in the 1980s) to
facilitate land use change or mitigation measures (Stammers and Boardman, 1984).
Farmers can experience impacts from runoff causing muddy floods, and legal action may
arise as has happened in the Isle of Wight where the council took action (Boardman, 2010)
and in Suffolk where affected households took action (Evans, 2004).

In one North Yorkshire catchment overland flow was perceived to be a natural process as
past flooding had been sporadic and not prolonged. Only farmers in the lower part of the
catchment reported problems. Four of eleven farmers surveyed who experienced ponding in
their fields had created ponds in response. As a result interviewees “did not feel a
responsibility for flood risk management”. The interviewees felt that flooding was caused by
factors such as urbanisation of the area and that an increase in hard surfaces for roads had
exacerbated flood problems as well as river canalisation, intensive farming leading to soil
compaction and increased drainage of moorland at the head of the catchment. The events
up to 2008 had therefore generated little response and so the adaptive responses elicited
were in response to degraded land scenarios presented to the stakeholders at a workshop.
Reponses included reducing stocking at critical flood risk periods, creation of ponds and
surrounding vegetation, planting trees along watercourses and removal of sediment from
riverside ponds (Posthumus et al., 2008).

In the Sussex Downs, despite problems of soil erosion causing considerable muddy floods,
the farmers in question refused to alter land use or to use contour ploughing in response to
flooding, although spring sowing was under consideration (Stammers and Boardman,
1984).

11
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 4: Summary of Costs of Extreme Events on Agriculture in the UK


Event Date [Year, season] Location Return Period (Years) or Cost (2012 prices) or Source cost Source - event
% of Mean analogue magnitude

Drought 1995 [April 1995 to England and 60-90 England & Wales; £290 million Subak (1997) Marsh (1996)
September 1996] Wales 120-170 Yorkshire
Drought 1975-1976 UK >200 £430 million for major (1)Subak (1997) Marsh (1996)
crops (1) (2) Met Office3
£500 million (2)
Flood 2007 England: 20* to over 150** years: £76 million Posthumus et al
South *Worcester Oxford; 2009
Midlands, ** Sheffield, Evesham,
South and Ludlow.4
East Yorkshire
Flood 2000 England and >150 years (most of £603 million FRP (2012) after CEH &Met Office
Wales England) NFU (2001)
Flood 1953 East Coast 250 years Unknown Zou and Reeve
(storm (2009)5
and tidal
surge)
Drought 2011 £400 million FRP (2012) after
NFU
Flood 2005 Cumbria 400 - 1800 years £400 million FRP (2012) after Hannaford et al.
NFU (2010)6
Flood 1879 England 151% of annual mean in Cereal yields 50-75% Brown (1987) (1) Brown (1987);
Suffolk (1). 184% of May- of normal (2) Marsh (2008)7.
July mean (2)

3
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2010/droughts-to-increase
4
Environment Agency http://:www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/Research/returnperiods_1918541.pdf
5
http://www.nerc.ac.uk/publications/planetearth/2009/autumn/aut09-clouds.pdf
6
http://www.ceh.ac.uk/news/news_archive/2010_news_item_47a.html
7
Marsh, T. 2008. A hydrological overview of the summer 2007 floods in England and Wales. Weather, 63, 274-279.

12
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

In the South Downs many short-term reactive measures to control muddy flooding have
been unsuccessful. Such measures were emergency engineering solutions (creation of
retention ponds, banks, and drains, and straw bales) to slow runoff and filter out sediment.
Whilst the costs were to be met by farmers themselves there was opposition to investing in
amelioration measures (Boardman, 2010, Evans and Boardman, 2003). In contrast,
publically funded agri-environmental schemes have allowed long term measures to be
implemented, and these include buffer strips of vegetation, changes in land use or small
dams on field boundaries (Boardman, 2010).

Adaptation to drought  
The level of irrigation UK wide has increased from 55,210m3 to 92,883m3 between 1982 and
2005. In addition, water storage capacity nearly doubled between 1984 and 1995 ((Wreford
and Adger, 2010) after Orson 1996). The response of cereals to irrigation has been viewed
as uneconomic and has led farmers to adapt the time of sowing or harvesting, or to
introduce rapidly maturing cultivars (ibid). Investment in field drainpipes for irrigation
increased by 6% from late 1994 to early 1995. This helped to reduce the level of losses
compared to the drought of 1976. Farmers also responded in 1995 by changing applications
of herbicides, fungicides and pesticides (Subak, 1997).

With increasing pressure on water supplies from competing uses there are limits to irrigation
and the limited supply of water becomes a barrier to adaptation by means of irrigation. In the
summer of 1995 restrictions on abstraction were in place in East Anglia, Herefordshire,
Hampshire and Lancashire (Subak 1997). In the summer of 1990 there was an increasing
need to irrigate crops whilst restrictions were placed on abstractions in the East and South
East. Warnings were also made over Chlorine levels in eastern coastal areas (Unsworth et
al., 1993b).

It is reported that farming of certain commodities dependent on irrigation (potatoes, sugar


beet and vegetables) may be at the limits of being able to adapt (Wreford and Adger, 2010).
They note that due to future limits on water availability, historic adaptation may not
necessarily indicate future adaptive capacity. Repeated dry years could “force farmers to
make irrigation priorities” (Subak, 1997) possibly in favour of high value crops such as
carrots, potatoes and sugar beet. The benefits of irrigating cereals are perceived to be low
(Subak, 1997). This example demonstrates the problem of path dependency in UK
agriculture, where adaptation options are constrained by the farming system. As a result,
adaptations (such as irrigation) might actually turn out to be maladaptations in the longer
term.

Adaptation to Extreme Snow (following a wet summer) 
Upland areas, where farming is marginal, have been shown to be vulnerable to extreme
events despite some resilience to disruption to transport and food supplies. The disruption
and heavy losses wrought by the prolonged cold and extremely heavy snows of the winter of
1947 is argued by Jones et al. (2012) to have been so great for the Cwm Twyi community
that the valley was abandoned. The Forestry Commission bought much of the land and the
last family left in 1967. Marginal areas may represent farming systems where to scope to
adapt is severely limited; continued climate change and/or a series of extreme weather
events may therefore represent a tipping point where the only viable option left is land
abandonment.

Small upland communities like Cwm Twyi in Wales had a certain level of resilience in the
form of knowledge of previous hard winters (the same could be argued for upland
communities across northern England); consequently the farms had a certain level of self-
sufficiency for food. However, the poor summer of 1946, with poor harvests, coupled with the
prolonged nature of the cold snowy conditions of winter 1947 in which many sheep were
buried, led to heavy losses for communities dependent on hill sheep farming. As result of the

13
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

hardships, the UK government decided to institute a subsidy for sheep farmers after 1947
(Jones et al., 2012).

More contemporary evidence will be available when the impacts of the severe winter of
2012/13, where extensive losses of sheep in the uplands has been reported, are evaluated.

2.7 The economic and policy context for adaptation


The economic environment 
Cereal prices doubled in 2007 due to shortages in the world market and speculative
commodity trading. The poor potato crop coincided with lower yields across Europe very
likely leading to price increases. This was a repeat of 1995 when the low yields of potatoes
resulted in large price increases in the UK. As a result of the high prices the potato sector
reported gross margins of £624 million (Wreford and Adger, 2010).

The adaptive response of dairy farming to droughts was omitted by Wreford and Adger
(2010) because of government policy influence affecting production levels.

The impact of the severe winter of 1947 would have been exacerbated by the economic
conditions of the time: The UK was still under rationing in the post war period and was
economically weakened with a debt burden (Jones et al., 2012).

The policy environment 
Barriers to adaptation by farmers may be financial or a combination of financial and
attitudinal. The latter relates to the awareness or acceptance of responsibility for wider
environmental impacts which relate to land management. In a North Yorkshire survey of
landowners, it was found that financial assistance and an appropriate funding scheme would
be required for farmers to carry out adaptation measures to reduce flooding, such as pond
creation or planting (Posthumus et al., 2008).

Current schemes such as the CAP were seen as inappropriate if the benefit was for others.
Also it was found that famers felt current agricultural schemes do not provide enough
incentive for famers to change land management practices due to the level of cost involved.
Whilst famers wished to be perceived by the public as stewards of the countryside they felt
that they should receive 100% compensation for implementing measures which were “flood
services for society”. This was in contrast to farmers’ attitudes to diffuse pollution from farms.
Whilst they felt a responsibility for pollution because of the clear link between land
management and diffuse pollution, farmers did not feel responsibility towards flood risk
management (ibid.). However, bringing farmers together through workshops did have the
effect of engaging farmers in good practice and success stories, and these were seen
positively if this approach to flood control was used in combination with other objectives such
as pollution control and conservation (ibid).

Efforts to alter farmer behaviour by government agencies have been reported as achieving
limited success when local knowledge and experience was not seen as being valued
(Wreford and Adger, 2010) (after Hall and Pretty 2008).

14
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

3. Extreme weather scenarios


3.1 Extreme weather events in 2050
A range of possible future scenarios were identified by the stakeholder workshop held in
February 2013 at the University of Leeds. These scenarios required parameters to be
specified in order to generate ‘plausible’ scenarios which represent climate change
influenced severe weather events. The concept of plausibility is contentious and some time
was spent at the project workshop trying to develop a common understanding of what it
means in the context of future extreme weather events. The Cambridge dictionary definition
of plausible is ‘likely to be true or able to be believed’; however participants argued that this
definition meant that there were no effective bounds for the scenarios. Ultimately a
pragmatic view was taken, accounting for the likelihood as well as the possibility of future
extreme weather events.

Additionally, it emerged that multi-event scenarios were of interest, such as the


floods/drought of 2012. The next two sections outline the evidence for scenario
parameterisation.

Rainfall 
In the Norfolk floods of summer 1912, which followed a drought, rainfall was notable for
exceeding 150mm in one day over a wide area. If such past events are used as analogues
for the future they need to be augmented to take climate change into account. The extent
that extreme values (rain, heat) increase for 2050 requires some rationale for the choice of
magnitude. However, the evidence is not clear cut for the country as a whole. Rainfall
intensities have been increasing during the first decade of 2000s in some parts of England,
but decreases have been seen in others. For example, a 1 in 100 year two day rainfall event
in South West England, which would have produced rainfall of 74.6mm in 1961-1990,
produced 95.5mm in 2001-2009. In the South East this has decreased from 99.9mm to
72.9mm for a two day event (Jones et al., 2012). This highlights the difficulties of setting the
magnitude of the scenario parameters.
Different approaches can be found for projecting rainfall into the future. In Australia, the
Queensland Inland Flooding Study recommends a 5% increase in rainfall intensity per
degree of global warming, which is estimated to be 2°C by 2050 (Wilby and Keenan, 2012).
Therefore rain events with annual probabilities of 0.5% and 0.2% are projected to increase to
1% and 0.5% by 2050. As Wilby and Keenan (2012) point out, this is a different approach to
that of using model projections of heavy precipitation for a given area.
In terms of changes to extreme rainfall the Met Office recommends that the UKCP09
projections are used for rainfall events with a frequency of up to 1 in 5 years. For rarer
maximum daily rainfall, which is of interest in the context of severe and extreme weather
events, peak rainfalls are considered more useful particularly for small catchments
(Sanderson, 2010).
Whilst prediction of extreme rainfall is recognised as a key challenge for climate scientists,
the Environment Agency (2011) gives flood managers the following guidelines for expected
increases in extreme rainfall (Table 5).

15
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 5: Change to extreme rainfall intensity compared to a 1961-90 baseline


Applies across all of England Total potential Total potential Total potential
change change change
anticipated for anticipated for anticipated for
2020s 2050s 2080s
Upper end estimate 10% 20% 40%
Change factor 8 5% 10% 20%
Lower end estimate 0 5% 10%
Source: Environment Agency (2011:14)

For larger catchments an increase in peak river flows of up to 20% is advised (Prudhomme
et al., 2010). The Met Office is working on high resolution models and also recommends
looking at projections for 5 day rainfall for frontal events, which account for a large share of
UK rainfall (Sanderson, 2010).
Model underestimation of precipitation extremes 
Models have hitherto underestimated heavy rainfall events, particularly the top 10%,
because climate models have been unable to replicate convective storms (Shiu et al., 2012).
In their analysis the top 10% of precipitation totals will increase by 108% per °C, whilst
lighter falls of rain, the lowest 30% to 60% of rainfall, would decrease by 20% per °C (ibid.).
They find that globally, the top 10% of precipitation has increased by 80% already and will
likely increase at a faster rate in the future. This has implications for increased downpours
leading to erosion and landslips as well as an increasing occurrence of droughts (ibid.).
Projections of seasonal shifts in peak rainfall 
In their analysis of the annual cycle of precipitation, Schindler et al. (2012) project that the
pattern of peak rainfall in the year will change. The baseline period of 1961-2000 shows that
eastern regions of England tend to have peak rainfall in August. Particularly for later in the
century when indications are more consistent, it is projected that peak rainfalls will shift from
summer to autumn in eastern England, whilst there will be little change in western England
(Schindler et al., 2012).
Heat 
Hansen et al. (2012) reviewed the temperature anomalies for the summer period (June, July
August) over recent hot weather events. The anomalies were expressed in Standard
Deviations from the mean from 1981 to 2010. They point out that 3x Standard Deviation
anomalies were felt over 4-13% of the world in the years 2006-11, up from 0.1-0.2% during
the period from 1951-80. Because the higher end of temperature distributions increased by
more than 1 Standard Deviation with 0.5°C of warming over the past 30 years, a further
+1°C of warming (expected within the next 50 years) would make 3x Standard Deviations
the norm and 5x Standard Deviations anomalies more common (Hansen et al., 2012) .
3.2 Selection of Scenarios
Table 6 details the main parameters for the 8 scenarios selected for study; narratives for
these are provided in Appendix 3.
The workshop and review of the literature have identified single event scenarios which are
not considered further in this study. However, their lack of selection does not necessarily
indicate that they are less ‘plausible’ or unlikely to have a high impact, rather that in the

8
The change factors quantify the potential change (as either mm or percentage increase, depending on the variable) to the
baseline (Environment Agency 2011).

16
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

limited time this study has chosen to focus on the eight scenarios considered below and to
prioritise multi-event scenarios.

Scenarios identified but not included are:

Winter flooding: Rainfall amounts exceed 200% above the average across England for the
period from December – February. Temperatures remain average for the time of year. A
20% increase in rainfall intensity leads to widespread flooding, waterlogged soils and soil
erosion. Winter crops either can’t be sown, or are slow to grow, weak, weedy and patchy.

Not considered separately; considered in S2 and combined with hot summer in S6

High summer temperatures: Summers that fall within the ‘extremely hot’ range of +5
standard deviations above the 2050 average become increasingly common (more than 1 in
every 10 years). Although rainfall amounts remain average for the time of year the extreme
heat increases rates of evaporation. Both crops and livestock are subject to significant heat
stress.

Not considered separately; combined with drought in S7 and with winter flooding in S6

Severe winters: Severe winters may be less common but as such they constitute an event
that will be considered more extreme in 2050 although their return period may extend. Mean
maximum temperatures are 0⁰C or below for long periods of December through to February.
Rainfall remains average for the time of year but falls predominantly as snow and hail. The
whole of England is affected by the cold temperatures with significant snowfalls experienced
in the west of England. The cold period is prolonged into March and fast thaws lead to
localised flooding.

Not considered separately; forms part of the seasonal dislocation scenario S5

Summer storms: Conditions of rainfall and temperature remain average for the time of year
but a large storm tracks across the country from west to east in the summer before harvest.
Winds gusts range from 90 to 100 mph and cause widespread damage.

Not considered separately; combined with winter flooding and hot summer in S6

17
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 6: Summary of Extreme Weather Scenarios


(Colours used for text reflect the type of event, and matching colours relate to the extreme event and the period used as an analogue)

Scenario Parameters
Precipitation Temperature Timing Area Other Analogue(s)
9
Localised summer 200% above mean . 16.8°C mean for June – August E & W Midlands, 1912
flooding 20% increase in Midlands (Central & Eastern
intensity. England10). England
E & W Midlands & 1.5°C cooler than
Eastern England: mean for 2050.
354mm mean for
summer. Over 150mm
falls in one day in
large parts of East.
Two wet NE: 462mm; NW: Average for 2050 September to NE, NW & Autumn 2000
autumn/winters 550mm or slightly November - two Yorkshire and
(200% of mean). warmer: 10°-13°C years the Humber.
Impacts also
countrywide
Mild winters South West: 200- Mean winter Two years SW, NE, Y&H 3σ of mean winter 1989 and 1990
240mm; North East: temp: 7.7⁰C temperatures. winters
(includes Yorks & South West;
Humber) 320 –
380mm.11
Average for 2050 (0- 6.3⁰C NE & Y&H
20% increase on 1961-
1990 baseline)12

9
Mean values based on baseline period 1981-2010, i.e. the most recent 30 year climate period.
10
Central England is based on the Central England Temperature dataset for the Hadley Centre.
11
Based on Mean values obtained from the Hadley Centre UK regional precipitation series (HadUKP). North East England includes Yorkshire & the Humber for HadUKP analysis.
12
Based on projections obtained from UKCP09. UKCP09 uses the 1961-1990 period as a baseline to account for climate change.

18
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Drought 70mm (England and East, E & W June - August* SE and East of 3σ of summer 1995 summer
Wales)* Midlands, SE, England, E & W mean
SW: 17.7⁰C mean Midlands temperatures
summer temp.
Seasonal (See narrative at Appendix 3) Early Winter: Country wide Autumn/Winter
dislocation then mild; warm with summer 2010, January 1916,
dry early flooding in E, Spring Summer
spring; cold wet SE, SW 1912 or 2012.
summer.
Wet Winter Winter mean rainfall: 17.7⁰C mean One Year Country wide 3σ of summer 1990
followed by hot 360mm England13. summer daily but summer mean 16 October 1987
summer plus maxima storms in SE temperatures; 90- type wind storm
Summer Atlantic 100 mph winds
storm** inland
Drought with South East: 19.3⁰C mean One year South East and 5σ of summer 1975-1976 drought
extreme high 57.3mm Spring; summer East of England mean + 2003 hot spell
summer temperatures temperatures
63.3mm Summer.
temperatures (Jun to Aug)
32⁰ to 35⁰C for 7
days in southern
England
Mild dry winter, West Midlands: mean Mean winter April frosts. West Midlands 3σ of winter mean 196415; 1990
severe late spring winter rainfall 78mm temp 7.1⁰C. temperatures.
frosts (34% of 2050 mean April: Rural 6 days frost in
winter rainfall 14). temps at 0°C or April.
below.

13
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly
14
2050 Rainfall assumed to be approximately 114% of current winter means, using UKCP09 mid range of medium emissions scenario data for the West Midlands area.
15
The rainfall in 1964 was 34% of the mean from 1961-1990.

19
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

4. Establishing a method for estimating economic costs


4.1 Key sectors and indicator enterprises
Previous work on the impacts of climate and weather has focused on key indicator crops as
a proxy for industry-level impacts, for example Defra projects CC036116 and AC030117. The
latter reviewed a representative set of crops which are sensitive to environmental challenges,
particularly temperature and water and their potential susceptibilities to pests and diseases.
This included both established crops (cereals, oilseeds, peas, potatoes, vegetables,
tomatoes, apples) and new crops which may be expected to become more important in the
future (sunflower, maize and miscanthus). Similarly, the CCRA18 considered a range of
reference enterprises based on their significance for land use and consumption and
sensitivity to climate change and a range of ‘new crops’.
For this study, we have identified a number of specific crops and livestock enterprises as a
focus for the estimation of impacts but in order to scope the aggregate impacts of extreme
weather scenarios at a given spatial scale, it is necessary to consider all the main
enterprises. Within this, the focus is on land use for food production rather than, for example,
delivery of wider ecosystem services such as energy or water provision or climate regulation
etc. This is a reflection of the scale of the project rather than the relevance of extreme
weather to these services and in principle the methodology adopted for estimating impacts
on food could be developed further to include these elements.
The proposed list for which an economic framework will be developed is shown in Table 7.
Table 7: Indicator enterprises
Crop enterprises Livestock enterprises
Wheat Milk production
Oilseed rape Cattle finishing (grass)
Potatoes Upland cattle and sheep
Carrots Indoor pig production
Cauliflower Outdoor pig production
Apples Indoor broiler meat production
Strawberries Free range egg production

For some enterprises, notably indoor pigs and poultry, the direct impacts of weather may be
limited e.g. additional energy costs for heating or cooling production units but there may be
significant indirect impacts in terms of crop price change.

It is noted that by considering weather sequences over a period of 2-3 years, rotational
issues will need to be accommodated.

16
ADAS (2008) Changes to Agricultural Management Under Extreme Events – Likelihood of Effects & Opportunities Nationally
(CHAMELEON)
17
University of Warwick and Rothamsted Research (2007) Vulnerability of UK Agriculture to Extreme Events
http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&ProjectID=14424&FromSearch=Y&Publish
er=1&SearchText=ac03&SortString=ProjectCode&SortOrder=Asc&Paging=10#Description
18
Climate Change Risk Assessment: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climate/government/risk-assessment/
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

4.2 Impact metrics


The CCRA considered a set of risk metrics to provide a measure of the impacts or
consequences of climate change, related to specific climate variables or biophysical impacts.
The work identified a wide range of impacts and potential consequences for agriculture
(Figure 3) under four key themes:
1. Environment
2. Soil
3. Crops and livestock
4. Land

These risk metrics are equally applicable to extreme weather events and the typology will be
used in this analysis as a framework for considering impacts, with a focus on production-
related parameters.

Figure 3: Impact clusters for agriculture identified in the CCRA

A summary of climate change impacts based on the UKCP09 projections is shown in Table
8. While the scope and scale of impacts is not entirely appropriate for extreme weather
events, again the analysis provides a useful reference point for isolating and quantifying
impacts. This, together with the analysis of indicator enterprises from the literature, including

21
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Defra projects CC0361, AC0301 and the Economics of Climate Resilience report (CA040119)
has been used as a more detailed prompt for our experts in considering the impacts of the
eight extreme weather scenarios.
Table 8: Climate change impacts from CCRA
UKCP09 projected climate change Possible range of impacts on UK agriculture
Carbon dioxide Potential stimulated photosynthesis and yield (e.g.
Concentration increases potatoes, wheat and forage)
Changes in the quality and/or composition of land use
(e.g. new crops, grassland)
Temperature Heat benefits some crops (e.g. onions, legumes, carrots)
Increase in winter and summer. Changes in crops grown (e.g. diversification into
Increases in number of ‘hot’ (20°C) and sunflowers, navy beans, soya, lupins, borage, grapevines
‘very hot (27°C) days etc, most notably in the SE)
Marked decline in number of frosts Less frost damage
Lengthening of growing season leading to greater
availability of UK grown produce throughout the year (e.g.
soft fruit)
Precipitation Drop in some crop yields
Decrease in summer rainfall Increased irrigation needs and changes in methods (e.g.
Increase in winter rainfall (regionally potatoes)
variable) Decrease in summer soil moisture
Changed poaching/water logging risk in some areas
Late harvest problematic (e.g. increased drying costs and
working on wet ground)
Increased housing needed for livestock
Increase in drainage systems
Increase in wet weather related animal health
problems/pest and disease problems
Weather extremes Crop damage/total crop loss (e.g. lodging of wheat, un-
Increased frequency of extreme events, harvestable fields)
such as droughts and high temperatures, Damage to agricultural buildings/change in building
torrential rains and very strong winds specifications
Changing cropping practices
Increased soil erosion
Lack of grazing in drought events; Increased heat stress
in livestock
Increase in housing needed for livestock
Sea level rise Loss of coastal, estuary and floodplain agricultural land
Increase in sea level Erosion of land and salinisation of ground water
Other impacts Increase in cost and range of insurance; increasing
diversification; New skills training/differing agricultural
workload; changes in agricultural markets, demand and
competition

4.3 Baseline economics of production


The Defra Farm Business Survey (FBS) provides a baseline for farm-level returns and costs
on the basis of robust farm type. These data are collected and published annually20 and can
be updated readily.

A number of caveats apply to the use of the FBS datasets as follows:

19
Frontier Economics (2013) Economics of Climate Resilience Agriculture and Forestry Theme: Agriculture
CA0401. A report prepared for Defra and the Devolved Administrations. February 2013. Available at:
http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location=None&Completed=0&ProjectID=18016
20
http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/foodfarm/farmmanage/fbs/publications/farmaccounts/

22
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

- The data relates to a sample of full time commercial farms21. Within the population of
farmers who are in scope, there is a high refusal rate (around 90%). Non-respondents
may have significantly different characteristics from the potential population of
respondents, leading to bias in the estimates of the full population. Calibration weighting
is used to reduce this bias, but is unlikely to completely remove it;

- The data is year specific and will reflect seasonal changes in weather patterns, pest and
disease burden etc as well as annual fluctuations in commodity and input prices. The
element of price variability can be reduced by deflating outputs and costs by a price
index and using a 3-year average price instead.

However, current statistics will not account for anticipated future changes in both the scale
and structure of the sector, including the impact of technology and indeed climate change.

The wider economic context for farming in 2050 is also relevant, given the significance of
non-farm income streams for some farm types, notably upland livestock farms (see Figure 4).
Thus, while much of the analysis will be presented in terms of absolute and percentage
change in economic returns from farming, impacts need to be set in the context of overall
income.

Figure 4: Farm Business Income broken down by cost centre for livestock farms (2011/12)

For the purposes of developing the economic impact model for this study, no assumptions
have been made about farming in 2050 and no account has been taken of policy change,
notably subsidies and income from agri-environment schemes. Similarly, diversified income
will not be considered as part of this analysis although it is quite possible that this would be
impacted e.g. reduced income from tourism-related activities in wet years.

21
FBS was re-designed starting from the 2010/11 accounting year; coverage of the survey is now restricted to those farms
which have at least 25,000 Euros of output.

23
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

4.4 Approach for estimating economic impact


Having defined the scenarios in meteorological and temporal terms it is possible to estimate
how this might impact on a number of agricultural sectors and systems through expert
judgement. By defining the scenarios in spatial terms, impacts per unit of crop area or head
of livestock can be combined with available datasets on land use (from the Defra Agricultural
Census) to identify the area across which extreme weather will be felt, in order to scale up
impacts. Further, financial performance data for agricultural systems (from FBS) provides a
basis for converting percentage changes in crop yields and inputs into economic terms.
Finally, it is possible to allow for price impacts related to weather, either at country level or
globally. These steps are set out sequentially below, detailing the datasets available and how
they can be used.

Step 1: Define the scenario weather event in terms of meteorological parameters, 
specifying spatial and temporal boundaries. 

Scenarios 1-8 are defined in Table 6 with an accompanying narrative for each set out in
Appendix 3.

Step 2: Estimate the change in agricultural production parameters associated with the 
scenario for key sectors – enterprise yield, product quality, inputs and resources (soil, 
infrastructure etc) – using expert opinion and/or empirical evidence as available.  

In this study, expert opinion was used to estimate volume and price impacts of weather on
agricultural output and input parameters. Two key approaches are available for eliciting
expert opinion. In the first, researchers use simulations or multiple model outputs based on
probabilistic functions to deal with the uncertainty that might be attached to expert opinion;
this overcomes the ‘one step’ limitations in using expert opinion. The other is to use an
iterative process where the expert opinions are used to run models and the outputs are then
discussed with the experts in order to ‘reality check’ and refine the original parameters. This
study has used the second process. It uses some of the benefits of the iterative process that
underpins the Delphi approach but does not attempt to build consensus between experts
from different sectors but rather it reality checks within sector expertise.

Based on the scenario description, ADAS agricultural experts were asked to provide an
assessment of the likely impacts of wet weather combined with flooding across the main
sectors. The full analysis for each scenario is detailed at Appendix 4 and yield (volume)
change impacts summarised in Table 10 (page 29). These estimates are necessarily broad-
based due to the degree of heterogeneity in most farming systems due to variation in context
(geography, topology, soil type), farm systems (species, genotypes, planting dates, harvest
dates, indoor/outdoor etc) and farm practices (reliance on inputs, uptake of technology,
degree of climate adaptation etc).

The volume change is stated as a percentage change to the norm and applied to the
baseline value for each parameter (from the FBS dataset). There is no attempt to deflate
values by a price series to estimate volumes as this is difficult to apply across all parameters.
It is possible to apply a price index to deflate values but this is more complex to deal with and
not considered necessary.

Estimates of price change at UK level are based on experience of the sensitivity of markets
to supply change. The model also allows for global price change which might exacerbate
national price change or work in the opposite direction. These elements are combined in a
single price co-efficient which is applied to the residual (volume-adjusted parameter value).

24
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Step 3: Calculate the 3­year ‘average’ economic performance for robust farm types (FBS 
data) at farm level. 

FBS farm-level data is available for the 9 robust farm types for recent financial years from the
website. This allows data to be downloaded as excel files for cropping and stocking and for
detailed output and input costs.

To adjust for single year bias in the FBS data, caused by seasonal anomalies (including
weather effects, pest and disease incidence etc) or between-year price fluctuation, a 3-year
average is taken using the three most recent FBS datasets22. While there is ongoing change
in the sample of farms which make up the dataset, these effects are modest. A simple
average of the three years data is taken as the baseline for measuring extreme weather
impacts.

Step 4: Use robust farm type data (from Step 3) in combination with estimates of change 
in volume due to extreme weather (from Step 2) to estimate the unit value change in 
output for each crop or livestock type and for each input category. 

The unit output for key crop and livestock enterprises (£ per hectare or per head) can be
calculated by dividing the farm level economic output change, represented by Δ Farm output 
(enterprise1; Robust Farm Type a) by the enterprise size (hectares of crop or numbers of livestock) for
each robust farm type. The unit output or input is then multiplied by the estimated percentage
volume change, represented by %Δ volume output (enterprise1) (see Appendix 4), to give unit
change for each scenario. Thus for output:

Δ Unit output (enterprise1; Robust Farm Type a) = %Δ volume output (enterprise1) x (Farm output (enterprise1; 
Robust Farm Type a) / Enterprise size (enterprise1; Robust Farm Type a)) 

The calculated changes in output across each robust farm type vary and need to be
weighted to provide the best estimate of change in volume of enterprise output at country
level. Thus:

Weighted Δ unit output (enterprise1) = Σi Δ Unit output (enterprise1; Robust Farm Type i) x Enterprise size 
(enterprise1; Robust Farm Type i) / (Σ Enterprise size (Robust Farm Type i)), i=1,...,n 

While this can be applied to output data, which is detailed by enterprise, variable costs,
which are enterprise specific such as seed, feed, fertiliser, sprays etc are aggregated at
category level (there is a single cost figure per farm) in the FBS dataset. As there may be
differential impacts on variable costs across enterprises – possibly in opposite directions – it
is necessary to differentiate between farm types. An assumption is made that by applying
changes in inputs (e.g. seeds for arable crops) at enterprise group level (arable crops;
horticulture; dairying; cattle & sheep; pigs; poultry) to the relevant farm types only, an
estimate of input change by robust farm type can be calculated.

It is then possible to apply differential changes to an input category by multiplying the


estimated percentage change in input use (e.g. seed) for each enterprise group (e.g.
horticulture), represented by %Δ volume input (input a;  enterprise group 1) by the average seed cost
per hectare for that category and farm type (expenditure on seed on Horticulture units). Thus:

22
http://www.farmbusinesssurvey.co.uk/regional/

25
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Δ Unit input (input a; Robust Farm Type a) = %Δ volume input (input a; enterprise group 1) x (Farm input (Robust 
Farm Type a) / Σ Enterprise size (Robust Farm Type a)) 

Step 5: Define the spatial scale for the area affected by the weather event – administrative 
boundaries (regions, counties) – and overlay with the Defra Census dataset to calculate 
hectares of crop and head of livestock within that area. 

Using relevant spatial datasets, calculate the area impacted by severe weather and overlay
with the 1km2 land use dataset to provide areas of crops and numbers of livestock which will
be impacted (see method and example at Appendix 6). This can be expressed at country
level or at another spatial scale e.g. region, county or defined landscape area.

Step 6: Use cropping and stocking data from (Step 5) to scale up the output for each crop 
or livestock type and for each input category. 

Scale up the enterprise impacts estimated at Steps 2 and 4 using the crop area or livestock
number data from Step 5. Thus for outputs:

Δ Output (enterprise1) = Δ Unit value output (enterprise1) x  Area (enterprise1)  

For inputs there is an additional step to aggregate crop areas or livestock numbers into an
enterprise group e.g. arable crops or horticultural crops as this is the basis on which unit
changes have been calculated (rather than at single enterprise level). This is aggregated
across the enterprise groups using the areas from Step 6. Thus:

Δ Input (input a) = Σi Δ Unit input (input a; enterprise group i) x Area (enterprise group i) , i=1,...,n 

Step 7: Adjust for price impacts at UK and global scale. 

The previous steps allow for volume changes in outputs and inputs due to extreme weather
but it is often the case that such changes in turn affect overall supply of a commodity and
impact on market price. In this way, the economic impact of reduced yield can be (in part)
offset by higher prices on the residual sales. There will also be cross-sector impacts. For
livestock producers, for example, higher to prices for crops will be reflected in higher input
costs (as feed) and will exacerbate the economic impact of any loss in livestock output. This
step applies a percentage price adjustment, for example to enterprise 1, represented by (%Δ 
Price Output (enterprise1)) to the volume-adjusted, scaled up, economic value of outputs and
inputs, represented by (Baseline Output (enterprise1)) ­ (Δ Output(enterprise1)) for and similar for
inputs. Thus the change in the value of output for enterprise 1 is represented by:

Δ Value Output (enterprise1) = {(1+%Δ Price Output (enterprise1)) x [(Baseline Output (enterprise1)) + 
(Δ Output(enterprise1))]} ­ Baseline Output (enterprise1) 

The baseline output and input data can be estimated by using the 3-year average FBS unit
value data (farm-level data divided by area data), scaled up to the relevant spatial area for
the scenario or taken from published Defra aggregate output and input data at
http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/files/defra-stats-foodfarm-farmmanage-agriaccount-
england-dataset-130117.xls The two approaches generate slightly different numbers but
each is incomplete (published England-level FBS data is not available for all input categories
while the aggregate input tables are not detailed for all FBS categories).

26
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Step 8: Aggregate the scaled impacts for each enterprise and cost category to calculate 
total economic impact. 

The net economic impact of a scenario, represented by Net Economic Impact (Scenario n) is


the simple sum of changes in outputs and inputs across all the categories, taking care to
ensure that the fall in outputs are added to increases in input, allowing for some categories
which may have changed in the opposite direction. Thus:

Net Economic Impact (Scenario n) = Σ i Δ Output (enterprise i) ­ Σ i Δ Input (category i) , i=1,...,n 

Step 9: Aggregate multiple year impacts 

To allow for first and subsequent year effects of extreme weather, estimates of impacts for
year 1 and subsequent years are added together by category e.g. wheat, seed etc. Thus:

Net Economic Impact (Scenario n (all years)) = Σ i Δ Net Economic Impact (Scenario 1(year i)), 
i=1,...,3  

4.5 Validation of economic impact method


The methodology has been informed by the scenarios and the associated estimated changes
in output and input volume and value in addition to the availability and format of economic
and spatial datasets. An example of the application of the method to Scenario 1 is shown at
Appendix 6. The area affected is based on the Environment Agency Flood Zone 3, a total of
979,526 hectares, including 314,953 ha of rough grazing and permanent pasture. The
localised summer flooding is restricted to the East of England, East Midlands and West
Midlands, limiting the affected area to 442,961 or 5.6% of England agricultural area.

The areas affected are summarised in Table 9 below and highlights the disproportionate
impact on higher value crops will lesser areas of grass and forage crops.
Table 9: Area of cropping affected by flooding of EA Flood Zone 3
Crop category % of England area

Cereals 323,503 13%

Oilseed rape 77,786 13%

Peas and beans 26,971 13%

Potatoes 21,894 22%

Sugar beet 25,691 22%

Horticultural crops 40,743 28%

Grass and forage crops 337,822 8%

The estimated net economic impact of this area being affected by summer flooding in Year 1
was estimated at £363 million before allowing for price effects; this reduced to £229 million
(£516/ha) after allowing for a 10% price increase in the price of potatoes and 5% for
horticultural produce due to the extent of area affected and subsequent impact on supply. If

27
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

the price effect was as high as 20%, there would be a net economic gain across the sector,
although this would obviously only benefit growers of these crops.

The ADAS analysis of the impacts of the 2007 summer floods on agriculture (Defra 2007)
reported an estimated impact of between £8 million and £19 million on an affected area of
42,000 ha; this represents between £183 and £461 per hectare. A further analysis, based on
interviews with affected farmers (Posthumus 2009) suggested a higher figure of £1207 per
hectare, skewed by large impacts on a few farms incurring very high losses. The modelled
scenario for this work estimates impacts over multiple years of £776 per hectare, but is
extremely sensitive to supply-led price impacts.

28
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

5. Economic analysis of scenarios


This section presents a short overview of the outputs of the economic method for the eight
extreme weather scenarios described in chapter 3 using the excel model developed by
ADAS as part of this project. The analysis uses the following datasets:
- FBS data - Detailed Output and Input Costs England for 2011/12, 2010/11 and 2009/10
- Production, cost and price impacts - estimates of % change in output from baseline for
each scenario from experts analysis and estimates of price impact on outputs and inputs
of supply changes (over 3 years)
- Spatial datasets as follows:
o Census data - full dataset used for scaling scenario impacts
o EA Flood Zones - spatially mapped census data used for scaling scenario
impacts
o HOST drought prone soils - spatially mapped census data used for scaling
scenario impacts
o HOST wet soils - spatially mapped census data used for scaling scenario
impacts
- Livestock Unit calculations (used to apportion changes for cattle and sheep elements for
variable and fixed cost changes)
- TIFF data to provide % change and FBS input weights - to supplement TIFF data
- API price data for reference
- FBS Gross Margins (key crop and livestock enterprises) for reference

5.1 Yield and price assumptions


The impacts of extreme weather scenarios on crop and animal yields are summarised in
Table 10 below. These are presented in terms of ranges in the table below but a single point
value is used in the model. These estimates of yield change are subjective and can be
adjusted in the model where further evidence is available.
Table 10: Summary yield impacts of extreme weather across agricultural sectors
Horticulture Sheep &
α
Arable (vegetables) Dairying Cattle Pigs Poultry
Localised summer flooding
+++
-40 to 50% -50% -5 % -10 to 15% -4% 0 to -15%
Two consecutive wet autumn /
winters -5 to -20% -5% No change No change -5% No change
Mild winters
No change +5% +ve +ve +5% -5%
Drought
-15 to 30% -10%* -10 to 25% +10% -5% -5%
Seasonal dislocation
-10 to -20% -15% -5% -5 to -15% -10% -5%
Wet Winter, then hot summer
plus summer Atlantic storm** 0 to -7%*** 0 to -5% No change No change -10% No change
Drought with extreme high
++
summer temperatures -25 to -50% -10%* -10% -5% -5% -5%
Mild dry winter, severe late No
spring frosts 0 to -10% -10% No change No change change -5%
α Estimates of yield impact for fruit was difficult to quantify, given the extensive range of crops
* Providing water for irrigation is not restricted sunlight is beneficial, if water for irrigation is restricted negative impacts
dominate
** Disease impacts, hard to quantify
*** Depends on if significant disease impacts occur
+
Depends on % early planting
++ If not housed
+++ 30% figure if indoor birds housed for a long period and can’t sell eggs as free-range
 

29
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Price effects due to the supply changes highlighted above relate to both outputs and inputs
(cereals are an output for arable farms but also an input for livestock farms). The expert
estimates of scenario induced price changes are shown in Table 11. Again these are
indicative and can be changed in the model and can be adjusted on the basis of wider global
supply changes. 
Table 11: Estimated impacts of the eight extreme weather scenarios on output and input price 
Scenario 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
YEAR 1
Output
Cereals 5% 10% 5%
Oilseed rape 5% 10% 5%
Peas and beans 5% 10% 5%
Potatoes 10% 5% 25% 50%
Sugar beet
Other Crops (incl. hort.) 5% 5% 5%
Milk and milk products
Cattle
Sheep and wool
Pigs
Eggs
Broilers and other poultry
Inputs
Purchased feed & fodder 5% 10% 5%
 

5.2 Economic impacts


By applying the yield and price data above to the farm performance data (FBS), estimates of
economic impact have been calculated on a ‘per hectare’ basis (Figure 5).

200

100

0
SCENARIO 1 SCENARIO 2 SCENARIO 3 SCENARIO 4 SCENARIO 5 SCENARIO 6 SCENARIO 7 SCENARIO 8

-100

-200

-300
£/ha
-400

-500

-600

-700

-800

-900

Figure 5: Estimated economic impact of extreme weather scenarios 1-8 per hectare of land affected

30
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

The analysis indicates that summer flooding and consecutive wet autumn/winters (scenarios
1 and 2) are especially costly in terms of economic performance per unit of agricultural land
area. Scenario 5 (seasonal dislocation) is the next most costly weather event. Scenario 3
(mild winters) and scenario 7 (drought with extreme high temperatures) result in positive
impacts when both yield and price effects are considered.

These per hectare data have then been scaled up using the census data and spatial
datasets for flooding and soils to provide estimates of total economic impact (Figure 6). The
main difference from the ‘per hectare’ analysis is that scenario 5 (seasonal dislocation) is the
most significant weather event; this reflects the fact that it is applied country-wide while the
other scenarios are confined to 3-4 regions.

400

200

0
SCENARIO 1 SCENARIO 2 SCENARIO 3 SCENARIO 4 SCENARIO 5 SCENARIO 6 SCENARIO 7 SCENARIO 8

-200

-400

£m -600

-800

-1,000

-1,200

-1,400

-1,600

Figure 6: Estimated total economic impact of extreme weather scenarios 1-8

Scenario 1 (localised summer flooding) is limited to three English regions, an area of


442,961 ha or 6% of the total agricultural area. While the extent of yield impact per hectare is
high, especially on arable and horticultural crops (see Table 10, page 29), the overall supply
impact would not be expected to have an effect on prices, other than for potatoes and some
seasonal vegetable crops. However, the yield impacts are exacerbated by increased costs
(in affected areas) for feedstuffs, fieldwork and clear up, taking the total to £776/ha and an
economic loss of £344 million in total.

Scenario 2 (two wet autumn/winters) is again limited to three English regions (6% of total
land area) and while the yield impacts are much less than for scenario 1, the weather event
extends over a two year period. In this case, the impacts play out over three years and are
dominated by increased costs rather than lost output. Price impacts are confined to the
potato crop where yields impacts are more significant (estimated at up to 20%) and free
range egg production where layers need to be housed, with prices discounted. The
aggregate economic loss over the three year period is £537/ha and £272 million in total.

Scenario 3 (two mild winters) has an overall positive effect on output, mainly as increased
vegetable yields, improved lambing and reduced losses from the outdoor pig sector, although
a reduction in outdoor egg production is anticipated due to increased pests. No impact on

31
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

prices is assumed. Savings in feed costs in the livestock and in energy costs are partially
offset by increased crop protection costs in the arable and horticultural sectors. The net
effect is a £62/ha economic gain but this applies across a large area (2.95 million hectares or
37% of the total agricultural area), an economic gain of £184 million in total.

Scenario 4 entails drought (June-August) across four English counties in the East and
Midlands; using the HOST drought prone soils dataset the affected area is 1.26 million
hectares or 16% of the total agricultural area. The drought would have a major impact on
crop yields (down 15-30%) with a reduction in output of milk, pigs and eggs (and sheep in
year 2). However, given the scale of the drought and its impacts, there would be some price
response and this would more than offset the reduction in supply with a net increase in
economic output over the three years. In terms of costs, the main effect is on feed costs for
the livestock sector which lead to an overall economic loss of £47/ha or £59 million in total.

Scenario 5 represents seasonal dislocation, a series of ‘unseasonal’ weather events in a


single year across all of England, an area of 7.9 million hectares. The weather is expected to
have a significant impact on crop yields in year 2 (down 15-20%) with a reduction in livestock
output, notably milk, cattle, sheep and pigs (also in year 2). In terms of cost, the main impact
is the supply led increase in cereal prices feeding into livestock feed costs; there are also
additional effects on infrastructure and other input costs. Given the widespread scale of the
impacts, there would be some price response, notably for arable and horticultural crops and
for lamb. This would offset some of the reduction in supply but overall the economic analysis
is for an economic loss of £171/ha or £1,361 million in total.

Scenario 6 (wet winter, hot summer and summer storms) is also countrywide but most of the
yield impacts are limited to storm damage. The model estimate of economic impact therefore
uses yield impacts for the South East, apart from pigs where the losses are countrywide.
Cost impacts are countrywide and largely related to additional inputs (crop protection, vet
and contract costs) with additional infrastructure costs from storm damage limited to the
South East (mainly horticulture and pigs). The net effect is an average £35/ha economic loss
across all of England and represents an economic loss of £276 million in total.

Scenario 7 (drought with extreme temperatures) is similar in effect to scenario 4 but more
severe but is limited to the South East and East of England (760,924 ha or 9.6% of the total
agricultural area). Yields are impacted across all sectors except poultry with some savings in
input costs (fertilisers, sprays and vet costs) but increased costs for purchased livestock feed
and energy/water costs. The main factor with the modelling of this scenario is the extent to
which large yield impacts feed into modest increases in prices – both for crops and animal
feed – and offset the economic losses. Thus yield based effects and input effects in Year 1
lead to a reduction in economic return of £280/ha but after allowing for price increases for the
residual output, this changes to an economic gain of £211/ha. Overall, the estimated
economic gain is £31/ha or £23 million.

Scenario 8 (mild dry winter and severe late frosts) applies only to the West Midlands
(863,870 hectares or 10.9% of the agricultural area). The main yield effects are on spring
sown vegetable crops and potatoes and on oilseed rape which would be at pod set stage;
additionally there would be increased losses in outdoor poultry systems due to the mild
winter. There would be higher costs for crop protection on arable crops, labour costs in
horticulture and bedding for outdoor pigs. No price impacts are anticipated due to the
localised scale and moderate yield effects. Overall, the estimated economic loss is £57/ha or
£49 million.

The scenarios have presented a wide range of effects both in terms of yield / input impacts
but also in terms of prices. Further, the significance of the scale of the weather event is
substantial. In particular, scenario 5 suggests that unseasonal weather across the country
could cause the greatest economic losses.

32
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

6. The role of climate change adaptation


6.1 Adaptation measures for climate change
Defra has undertaken a recent economic analysis of climate change adaptation measures.
This considered a broad range of measures (see Appendix 7), mapping them against climate
change risks and scoring them in terms of economic and environmental effectiveness. Not all
are relevant to this work – some are targeted at wider ecosystem services such as wildlife
habitats and species or the welfare of farm workers – most are focused on mitigating impacts
on food production and related impacts such as animal welfare, avoiding soil erosion etc. As
such this analysis forms a useful basis for the assessment of extreme weather risks and we
have mapped the adaptations cited by our experts (in their assessment of impacts) against
this list.

6.2 Possible adaptation in response to extreme weather scenarios


In the context of a future with increasing extreme weather events, climate change adaptation
measures offer an opportunity to minimise potential losses, protect investments already
made to on-site infrastructure and keep operations financially viable. There are a wide range
of adaptation options available to farmers and different levels of adaptation depending on the
severity of the extreme weather event. There is also demand for no-regret or low regret
adaptation options23; measures which would be justified under all /almost all future climate
scenarios and would not or be unlikely to lead to maladaptation. Which options are likely to
be no or low regret is not easy to identify when so little is known about what future extreme
weather events might look like.

A large range of possible adaption options has been reported by the agricultural experts.
These are mapped against the Defra list of adaptations, highlighting coincidence and
coherence (Table 12).

Some of the most common adaptations suggested related to simply shifting the timing of
certain practices, for example, housing date, planting date or lambing date. These kinds of
adaptations provide a usually relatively simple way to adapt to extreme weather. The main
barriers to these adaptations are likely to be linked to farms accepting such a change in
behaviour will be necessary and will not lead to unnecessary losses by moving from usual
routine which in a typical year of weather will optimise yields. For example, shifting arable
cropping from winter to spring, leads to a consequent decrease in yields. Another example is
reducing the stocking density of poultry which reduces potential output but can prevent
losses from heat stress. Changes in behaviour which lead to some loss of yield (but may
prevent a more catastrophic loss of yield) could be encouraged by education, as analysing
the trade offs can be complex given the current unpredictability of extreme weather events.

Convincing of a need to change remains a barrier for many adaptations; for some sectors
after two or three years of extreme weather farmers would look to adapt whereas others may
continue to be unconvinced. The level of adaptation which is feasible for each sector is
largely determined by the market value of the agricultural produce, the cost of the adaptation
and an analysis of whether there will be a return on investment. For example, irrigating
during droughts and tunnelling to protect against cold temperatures are both adaptation
practices which are feasible and already taking place in the horticulture sector (particularly
for the higher value fruit crops) whereas this level of adaptation would not be financially
logical for cereal crops. Any changes in the cost of adaptation measures and the achievable
price for products by 2050 could influence the uptake of adaptations.

23
http://climatechange.worldbank.org/content/adaptation-guidance-notes-key-words-and-definitions

33
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 12: Key climate change adaptation measures identified for extreme weather scenarios
Wet Winter
followed by hot Drought with
summer plus extreme high Mild dry winter,
Localised summer Two wet Seasonal summer Atlantic summer severe late spring
Flooding autumn/winters Mild winters Drought dislocation storm temperatures frosts
Alter timing of Change timing of
granular fertiliser, spring and autumn
manure and slurry cultivation and
Arable Change timing of application (42) harvest (38)
spring and autumn Encouraging rooting More fungicide
cultivation and Increase water by applying a liquid Increase water applications
harvest (38) storage (17b) phosphate storage (17b) Fleecing
Build additional Use irrigation
drainage capacity Plant trees (15) Novel irrigation
Increase water (10) Remove polythene methods
storage (17b) Spring replanting from tunnels Increase efficiency of Fleecing
Horticult
Use irrigation Raised beds Spreading producer irrigation (26) Frost blasters
ure
Build additional Build additional Use crop covers Strengthened suppliers across Crop hygiene to Spreading producers
drainage capacity drainage capacity Planting fruit crops tunnels country control pests groups
(10) (10) later Frost tolerant Wind breaks Bio-control Better weather
Use crop covers -Raised beds Spread suppliers varieties (5) Strengthening posts Venting tunnels forecasting
Provide more shade
for livestock (32)
Grow new or a Move to autumn Plant trees (15)
Dairy
House animals (30) greater variety of calving system, Improve water
Maintain tracks Use temporary food crops (8) House animals (30) Keeping cool with accessibility for Shifting housing
House animals (30) fencing (29) Housing design sprinklers livestock turnout date
Buffer feed over the
Cattle & Buffer feed over the Buffer feed over the summer (34) Increase water
Sheep summer (34) House animals (30) summer (34) Changing lambing House animals (30) storage (17)
Moving grazing area schedule In-field shelters Alter lambing date
Build additional
manure storage (18)
House animals (30) Improve insulation
Straw in reserve and ventilation
Pigs Sows kept on high Separating slurry Inspect and mend Provide mud wallows
ground and water storage Improve insulation leaks in pipes and Inspect and mend Improve insulation Upgrade water
Separating slurry House animals and ventilation tanks leaks in pipes and and ventilation delivery system Improve insulation
and water Increasing indoor Environmental Plastic pipes tanks House animals (30) Shift area from bales and ventilation
Moving huts area (new huts) enrichment (upgrading units) More indoor area Stockpile straw

Improve insulation
House animals (30) and ventilation Improve insulation
Poultry
Upgrading access Wooden slatted area Improve insulation Improve insulation Improve insulation and ventilation Improve insulation
Abandoning outside to help clean and ventilation and ventilation and ventilation Reduce stocking and ventilation
operations feet numbers
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

More progressive and commercially focused farmers are likely to be the first to adapt when
there is a clear return on investment; conversely those businesses that delay are likely to
incur losses and may be less viable in the medium to long term. Some adaptations discussed
included those that which aren’t currently viable in the UK but may be in the future as are
used in countries with a more extreme climate.

The increasing incidence of several extreme weather events can also create issues in
identifying the most effective adaptations when these extremes may be opposite in impact,
for example when there is an increase in heat waves but also an increase in cold winters.

Some barriers to adaptations reflect local physical constraints such as the farm location and
characteristics (soil type, topography, size, proximity to rivers etc.). Where farm
characteristics and location prevent adapting we may see a shift in the distribution of farms
as an adaptation. It is also suggested that perhaps on a larger scale an adaptation could be
to have operations for a sector spread more uniformly across the country so if one area was
hit by extreme weather yields could be compensated in areas not hit (this relies on extreme
weather being localised).

For some adaptations it is an issue of timing, for example in housing design, farmers will be
reluctant to upgrade current housing when it hasn’t reached the end of it’s useful life, but if
new housing is being built they may be more willing to upgrade to minimise the impacts of
extreme weather (e.g. improved ventilation) so adaptations could be built in over time. For
the more costly adaptations where barriers are greater it was suggested that the use of
legislation or grants would help uptake and that for some it was highly unlikely they would be
implemented without such measures.

The adaptations identified by ADAS experts focus mainly on local farm adaptations but there
is the opportunity for more strategic and overarching adaptations for UK agriculture to adapt
to extreme weather events such as industry wide planning and these may offer greater
opportunities to farmers unsure of how to best adapt in the face of increasing extreme
events.

6.3 Farmer uptake of climate change adaptation measures


A key issue with adaptation measures is uptake, as most measures incur a cost, while the
benefits rely on the certainty and incidence of relevant extreme weather events. A key
limitation is that the current generation of climate models and projections are more suited to
simulation of long term climatology than extreme events. Extreme events are challenging for
climate models to predict but improvements in extreme event prediction are underway
(Walker Institute, 2009). Nevertheless, it is difficult for farmers and growers to quantify the
benefits of adaptation in this context.

Changing farming practice is not straightforward. The beliefs and values of farmers impact
on their behaviour and will facilitate or act as a barrier to changing practice (Holloway 1999).
Farmers continuously adjust their practice in response to external stimuli (economic, social
and political pressures); however, there is also risk aversion and inertia in the system
(Holloway & Ilbery 1997). In the past, the emphasis has been on science and how to
translate knowledge to farmers rather than really engaging with and understanding their
belief systems. So unless farmers have positive feelings about scientific information they are
less likely to use it in their decision making (Sharifzadeh et al 2012). The work of Fleming &
Vanclay (2010) in Australia has demonstrated that farmers there hold at least four different
views of the world (discourses) which determine their beliefs, values and behaviour in
response to climate change. As such, each requires a different approach to ‘encourage’
changes in farming practice in response to climate change and extreme weather events.
Similarly, in the UK four discourses (called attitudinal groups) were found in the livestock
sector, which varied from believing that they were adaptation ready to needing support to
implement adaptation (Hall & Wreford 2012).
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

While work has been carried out to model farmer behaviour in the face of climate change
(Gibbons & Ramsden 2008) this has been based on economic assumptions of rational
behaviour, and does not consider extreme events. Work in the US suggests that experience
is more likely to drive adaptation responses (Haden et al 2012), which means that the
irregularity of extreme events may work against adaptation. Context is really important,
farmers affected by climate effects like drought, but who have good health are more likely to
instigate adaptation strategies, regardless of low incomes (Hogan et al 2011). But it is
important to also consider the other risks that farmers have to make decisions under which
might be more pressing than climate change (Knox et al 2010).

Research looking at long term averages/trends in climate has identified expansion of


agricultural areas and increases in yield as adaptation responses (Bindi & Oleson, 2011).
However, these changes in agricultural practice may not be conducive to adaptation for
extreme weather events, particularly when water availability is severely restricted. Research
into the impact of extreme weather under future climate change in the Mediterranean might
provide some guidance for possible adaptation options beyond land abandonment such as
changes in crop species, cultivar choices, sowing dates, fertilisation, irrigation, drainage, land
allocation and changes to farming systems (Bindi &Oleson, 2011). However, this work does
not examine the likelihood that farmers will change their behaviour and take up these
adaptation options. Evidence from Germany suggests that farming practice is lagging behind
the changes in trends such as earlier onset of spring (Menzel et al, 2006) but work in the
Netherlands suggests that this is may be due to unforeseen factors such as fewer frost days
(need frost days to create a crumbly soil good for sowing) (van Oort 2012), highlighting how
extreme events need to be considered in the context of general trends in climate change.

The ADAM project has looked at past adaptation responses in agriculture to extreme events
in the UK. The researchers argue that while adaptation has happened in the past, the
changes have been relatively easy and so future adaptation might not work quite so well
(Merchler et al 2010; McEvoy 2010: special issue). Wreford & Adger 2010 have also
reviewed adaptation responses to extreme weather events (heatwaves and droughts) on UK
agriculture over the last 40 years where they found that the cost of damages has been
reducing, suggesting that farmers have been adapting, but they also raise the question as to
whether future adaptation will be so easy. Modelling work indicates that diversified farms will
be the most robust by 2050 while marginal farms will need the most resource investment
(e.g. irrigation) (Gibbons & Ramsden 2005).

36
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

7. Discussion
This study has concentrated on five sequential but discrete tasks; (i) the REA of past events,
(ii) developing extreme weather scenarios for 2050, (iii) estimating the impact of these
scenarios on key agricultural sectors, (iv) describing a method for using these impacts
alongside economic datasets and spatial mapping to estimate economic impacts, and finally
(iv) consideration of adaptations. The timescale and resources available for the work have
necessarily confined the extent to which these tasks have been developed. As such, this
work represents a ‘proof of concept’ for policymakers to consider the potential impacts of
extreme weather events and adaptations, rather than a comprehensive analysis.

In the course of delivering the work a number of key issues have become evident. These are
listed below along with some thoughts on how they might be resolved or researched further:

(i) The single most challenging aspect has been to secure reliable quantitative
estimates of impact by sector for the eight scenarios described. While every
attempt was made to be specific about the weather event, including the timing,
extent and severity, much finer granularity is necessary to qualify how the impacts
might play out at a local level as there is such heterogeneity between areas,
farming systems and management. The same issue applies to making estimates
of supply-induced price impact, notably for fresh produce. More work is necessary
in this area and it is suggested that localised case studies would provide a
suitable approach.

(ii) A number of highly relevant datasets exist which can provide the necessary
economic data for this analysis e.g. census data, FBS data. These are not always
detailed to the extent that very specific sector questions can be pursued but the
data is generally sufficient given the wider assumptions required, notably on
impact.

(iii) The spatially mapped Defra census data is critical to the approach proposed, as is
the availability of other datasets to refine the spatial extent of a scenario impact.
The latter has been limited in this study, notably flood zones and soil type data but
this area should be researched further as spatial mapping is critical to the reliable
scaling of estimated impacts.

(iv) It would have been helpful to have had access to more meteorological data, for
example on the spatial distribution of peak temperatures or air frost days within
the broad extreme weather events described. It is understood that much of this
data is available but that resource is needed to access and analyse it to this
degree of detail. Further work should explicitly involve the Met Office.

(v) In terms of adaptations, there was a reasonable degree of overlap between the
suggestions made by the experts and those on the Defra list. However, there
were some additional ideas which merit consideration. Many of the barriers to
adaptation are cost-based and it is suggested that the cost-effectiveness analysis
is revisited and extended as necessary within the context of this work to highlight
areas where intervention is appropriate. Any analysis should account for wider
ecosystem (dis)benefits of adaptation or its absence, notably for non-market
goods.

(vi) Limited commentary has been made on the medium-term impact on key sectors
of the various scenarios. This is in part because the broad analysis suggests that
impacts, while severe locally, are temporally and spatially limited or that
adaptations are available for many of the most significant impacts. However, this
issue merits further discussion in a stakeholder forum.

37
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Appendix 1: Bibliography
Asher, M. J. C. & Williams, G. E. 1991. Forecasting the national incidence of sugar-beet
powdery mildew from weather data in Britain. Plant Pathology, 40, 100-107.

Atyeo, J. and Walshaw, D. (2012), A region-based hierarchical model for extreme rainfall
over the UK, incorporating spatial dependence and temporal trend. Environmetrics,
23: 509–521. doi: 10.1002/env.2155

Benestad, R.E., 2005, Can We Expect More Extreme Precipitation on the Monthly Time
Scale? Journal of Climate 19: 630-637Bindi, M & Olesen, JE (2011) The responses of
agriculture in Europe to climate change. Regional Environmental Change 11: S151-
S158.

Boardman, J. 2010. A short history of muddy floods. Land Degradation & Development, 21,
303-309.

Bowden, J., Cochrane, J., Emmett, B. J., Minall, T. E. & Sherlock, P. L. 1983. A survey of
cutworm attacks in England and Wales, and a descriptive population model for
Agrotis segetum (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Annals of Applied Biology, 102, 29-47.

Brown, J. 1987. Agriculture in England. A survey of farming, 1870-1947, Manchester,


Manchester University Press.

Collier, R., Fellows, J. R., Adams, S. R., Semenov, M. & Thomas, B. 2008. Vulnerability of
horticultural crop production to extreme weather events. Aspects of Applied Biology,
Vol.88, 3-14.

Dennis, I. A., Macklin, M. G., Coulthard, T. J. & Brewer, P. A. 2003. The impact of the
October-November 2000 floods on contaminant metal dispersal in the River Swale
catchment, North Yorkshire, UK. Hydrological Processes, 17, 1641-1657.

Evans, R. 2004. Outdoor pigs and flooding: An English case study. Soil Use and
Management, 20, 178-181.

Evans, R. & Boardman, J. 2003. Curtailment of muddy floods in the Sompting catchment,
South Downs, West Sussex, southern England. Soil Use and Management, 19, 223-
231.

Fleming A & Vanclay F (2010) Farmer responses to climate change and sustainable
agriculture. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 30(1):11-19.

Frich, A.; L.V. Alexander, P. Della-Marta, B. Gleason, M. Haylock, A.M.G. Klein Tank, and T.
Peterson (January 2002). "Observed coherent changes in climatic extremes during
the second half of the twentieth century" (PDF). Climate Research 19: 193–212.
Haden Van R, Niles MT, Lubell M, Perlman J & Jackson LE (2012) Global and Local
Concerns: What Attitudes and Beliefs Motivate Farmers to Mitigate and Adapt to
Climate Change? PLOS One 7(12).

Gibbons JM & Ramsden SJ (2008) Integrated modelling of farm adaptation to climate


change in East Anglia, UK: Scaling and farmer decision making. Agriculture
Ecosystems & Environment 127(1-2):126-134.

Harker, P. V. 1990. The weather in England and Wales - August 1989 to July 1990. Journal -
Royal Agricultural Society of England, 151, 216-220.

38
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Hall C & Wreford A (2012) Adaptation to climate change: the attitudes of stakeholders in the
livestock industry. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 17(2):207-
222.

Hogan A, Bode A & Berry H (2011) Farmer Health and Adaptive Capacity in the Face of
Climate Change and Variability. Part 2: Contexts, Personal Attributes and Behaviors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 8(10):4055-4068.

Hollis, J. M. (1989) A methodology for predicting soil wetness class from soil and site
properties. Soil Survey and Land Research Centre for MAFF.

Holloway L (1999) Understanding climate change and farming: scientific and farmers'
constructions of 'global warming' in relation to agriculture. Environment and Planning
A 31(11):2017-2032.

Holloway LE & Ilbery BW (1997) Global warming and navy beans: Decision making by
farmers and food companies in the UK. Journal of Rural Studies 13(3):343-355.

IPCC, 2012: Summary for Policymakers. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and
Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F.
Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner,
S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I
and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1-19.Gibbons JM & Ramsden
SJ (2005) Robustness of recommended farm plans in England under climate change:
A Monte Carlo simulation. Climatic Change 68(1-2):113-133.

Jaggard, K. W., Dewar, A. M. & Pidgeon, J. D. 1998. The relative effects of drought stress
and virus yellows on the yield of sugarbeet in the UK, 1980-95. Journal of Agricultural
Science, 130, 337-343.

Jobson, J. D. and Thomasson, A. J. (1977) Soil water regimes. Soil Survey Technical
Monograph, No. 11, Harpenden, 57 pp.

Jones, C. A., Davies, S. J. & MacDonald, N. 2012. Examining the social consequences of
extreme weather: the outcomes of the 1946/1947 winter in upland Wales, UK.
Climatic Change, 113, 35-53.

Jones, M. R., Fowler, H. J., Kilsby, C. G. and Blenkinsop, S. (2012), An assessment of


changes in seasonal and annual extreme rainfall in the UK between 1961 and 2009.
Int. J. Climatol.. doi: 10.1002/joc.3503

Knox J, Morris J & Hess T (2010) Identifying future risks to UK agricultural crop production:
Putting climate change in context. Outlook on Agriculture 39(4):249-256.

Marsh, T. 2008. A hydrological overview of the summer 2007 floods in England and Wales.
Weather, 63, 274-279.

Mechler R, Hochrainer S, Aaheim A, Salen H & Wreford A (2010) Modelling economic


impacts and adaptation to extreme events: Insights from European case studies.
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 15(7):737-762.

Menzel A, von Vopelius J, Estrella N, Schleip C & Dose V (2006) Farmers' annual activities
are not tracking the speed of climate change. Climate Research 32(3):201-207.

Mill, H. R. & Salter, C. 1912. British Rainfall 1912, London, Meteorological Office.

39
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Posthumus, H., Hewett, C. J. M., Morris, J. & Quinn, P. F. 2008. Agricultural land use and
flood risk management: Engaging with stakeholders in North Yorkshire. Agricultural
Water Management, 95, 787-798.

Posthumus, H., Morris, J., Hess, T. M., Neville, D., Phillips, E. & Baylis, A. 2009. Impacts of
the summer 2007 floods on agriculture in England. Journal of Flood Risk
Management, 2, 182-189.

Sharifzadeh M, Zamani Gh H, Khalili D & Karami E (2012) Agricultural Climate Information


Use: An Application of the Planned Behaviour Theory. Journal of Agricultural
Science and Technology 14(3):479-492.

Stammers, R. & Boardman, J. 1984. Soil Erosion and Flooding on Downland Areas.
Surveyor, 164, 8-11.

Subak, S. 1997. Agriculture. In: Palutikof, J. P., Subak S, Agnew M D (ed.) Economic
Impacts of the Hot Summer and Unusually Warm Year of 1995. Norwich: University
of East Anglia.

Unsworth, M. H., Scott, R. K., Cox, J. S. & Bardell, K. 1993a. Impact on Agriculture and
Horticulture. In: R, C. M. G. R. A. P. C. E. (ed.) Impacts of Mild Winters and Hot
Summers in the United Kingdom 1988-90. London: HMSO.

Unsworth, M. H., Scott, R. K., Cox, J. S. & Bardell, K. 1993b. Impact on Agriculture and
Horticulture. In: R, C. M. G. R. A. P. C. E. (ed.) Impacts of Mild Winters and Hot
Summers in the United Kingdom 1988-90. London: HMSO.

Van Oort PAJ, Timmermans BGH & van Swaaij ACPM (2012) Why farmers' sowing dates
hardly change when temperature rises. European Journal of Agronomy 40:102-111.

Walker Institute (2009) Improving predictions of extreme events available at:


http://www.walker-
institute.ac.uk/publications/factsheets/walker_factsheet_extremes.pdfWreford, A. &
Adger, W. N. 2010. Adaptation in agriculture: historic effects of heat waves and
droughts on UK agriculture. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 8, 278-
289.

40
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Appendix 2: REA Evidence on past extreme weather events


The REA is based on a systematic literature review, which was focused initially on peer
reviewed literature before looking at secondary sources as well as grey literature. Searches
were based on the ISI Web of Science and Scopus databases using target key word
searches. Certain first order terms were used as constants and in combination with second,
third and fourth order terms. The keywords are listed in Table 12 below. These words have
been selected based on key text quoted in the Defra documentation Vulnerability of UK
Agriculture to Extreme Events by Warwick HRI (2008) and Climate Change Risk Assessment
for the Agriculture Sector by Knox et al. (2012). In addition certain words have been added
that are useful in the context of scenario development.
Table 12: Keyword search terms
First Order Second Order
Term Term Third Order Term Fourth Order Term
agricult* AND AND AND
farm* Extreme weather impact
livestock OR rain sensitivity
crop Severe drought stress
heat disease
precipitation quality
flood yield
warming response
wind productivity
temperature risk
storm damage
ice land suitability
blizzard consequences
snow pests
landslip weeds
water logging vulnerability
fire erosion
hail drainage
variability cost
attitude
financ*
response
adapt*
prepare*
lowland
arable
fruit
grass*
moor*
upland
contingency
risk
grazing
pasture

The key references are detailed in tabular format below.

41
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Ref [5.1.]  Posthumus et al. 2009


Title Impacts of the summer 2007 floods upon agriculture in England
Review rating (pre‐review) 5 (5)
Topic(s) Flood risk management, rural agriculture, England, summer 2007 floods
Extreme weather hazard  Floods from heavy rain
covered
Date / Year  Summer (June - August) 2007
Duration of hazard  6 weeks average in each region
Geographic Area(s) Yorkshire & Humber, West Midlands and Oxfordshire
Cost Total cost to agriculture in England: £50.7 million.
Type of farming  All
Event  42,000 hectares of land were flooded.
Magnitude/severity/return 
period 
Abstract / overview  Exceptional rainfall during the summer of 2007 caused widespread flooding in parts
of England. While the focus of attention has been correctly placed on the impact on
densely populated urban areas, large tracts of rural land were seriously affected by
flooding. Summer flooding is particularly damaging to farming. This paper presents
the results from an evaluation of the impacts of the summer 2007 flood events on
agriculture. High financial losses were incurred in the horticultural sector. Arable
farmers incurred direct losses in the form of crop loss or yield reduction due to
flooding and associated waterlogging of fields. Livestock farmers incurred indirect
losses in the form of additional housing and feeding costs for livestock. Although
total costs to agriculture were small compared with urban flood costs, they were
typically large at the individual farm scale. Such impacts should be properly
acknowledged in future strategies for flood risk management.
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Relevance at the highest level. The Methodology involved a survey of 78 affected
farmers. Structured questionnaires used to find out about nature flooding, crop and
livestock, type and cost of damage and the attitudes of farmers towards adaptation
to flood risk. Estimates of financial losses were according to estimates of physical
damage and unit prices; average market prices for cereal, potatoes and field
vegetables were used; other costs were accounted for such as extra labour, and
machinery costs.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-scale?


Study done at regional scale.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Crop damage and associated yield loss were the most reported impacts. The next
reported of impact was loss of income from livestock and debris clearing. Crops
were affected both in terms of yield and in quality. Additional costs were the result of
the need to add agro-chemicals to maintain crop performance after flooding. There
were additional harvesting costs and land reinstatement costs.
Grasslands were affected through loss of hay and silage as well as grazing. There
were increased costs in moving livestock and reseeded pasture. Losses of livestock
(due to drowning) and reduced milk production, and additional labour, extra feed
purchases, additional slurry disposal (due to livestock being kept indoors), and extra
treatment costs due to disease.
It was found that a small number of farms suffered the highest losses and smaller
farms suffered disproportionately. At farm level the greatest losses were incurred by
general crops, as a result of crop loss of reduced yields. At a field level the greatest
losses affected horticultural produce such as vegetable and salad crops being unfit
for sale. Horticultural farms had relatively higher costs associated with repairs
needed to damaged irrigation equipment.
Livestock farms were affected indirectly with increased costs of moving livestock to
shelter during the grazing season and additional costs arising from this as well as
labour. Costs to livestock farmers were increased by the need to purchase extra

42
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

feed. Whilst direct losses of livestock were low, there were increased costs for
treatment of diseases such as dairy mastitis and lameness. In addition there were
cost for repairing fences, gates and hedges, where the need is higher than for arable
crops.
In flooded areas cereal yields were down by approximately 40%.Across the UK,
winter wheat yields were 6% lower in 2007 than 2006. The potato crop saw 2.6 % of
the area spoiled by flooding though a larger proportion was lost to blight as a result
of the wet weather conditions.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 Average cost per farm £89,415. Cost per flooded hectare: £1,207 per ha. 82% of
this damage per hectare was due to flood damage to crops, the remaining 18% to
farm assets, livestock production losses and indirect losses.
The highest losses were recorded by horticultural farms with an average cost of
£6879 per ha. Mixed farms had the lowest at £411 per ha.
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3 There was a problem of soils staying waterlogged for a prolonged period, up until
Spring 2008 in some cases. Many farms considered adaptation measure such as
changing crop rotation which would incur no additional cost to the farm. Though an
imminent increase in extreme event like the 2007 floods was seen as likely few saw
that a change in land use would happen. Nearly half of those framers questioned
were considering a change in land use on the floodplain (stopping potato growing or
winter cereals) or converting arable land into grassland, improving drainage or
ensuring enough silage or hay was available, reducing herd size or entering an
environmental stewardship scheme. In the West Midlands there was a greater level
of acceptance of flood risk than farmers in Yorkshire & the Humber and Oxfordshire
and therefore greater emphasis was put on resilience and warning by farmers.
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4 Six cases were reported where farmers were unable to plant winter crops or
potatoes in the spring. Soil compaction and a reduction in the earthworm population
are thought to reduce yields for the following years.
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6 Cereal prices doubled in 2007 due to shortages in the world market and speculative
commodity trading. The poor potato crop (see Q1) coincided with lower yields
across Europe very likely leading to price increases.
Full reference POSTHUMUS, H., MORRIS, J., HESS, T.M., NEVILLE, D., PHILLIPS, E. and
BAYLIS, A., 2009. Impacts of the summer 2007 floods on agriculture in England.
Journal of Flood Risk Management, 2(3), pp. 182-189.

Ref [5.2.] BOARDMAN, J. 2012


Title A Short History Of Muddy Floods
Review rating (pre review) 4 (5)
Topic(s) muddy flood; soil erosion; land-use change; flood protection; flood damage costs;
Europe
Extreme weather hazard Heavy rainfall
covered
Date / Year Various; October to December for winter cereals.
Duration of hazard
Geographic Area(s) South Downs, Somerset, Dorset, East & West Midlands, Kent, East Anglia
Cost For Breaky Bottom (South Downs) incident: cost to farmer’s insurers: €145 000.
Brighton suburbs (1987) €957,000 to insurers and local councils.
Type of farming Arable
Event Faringdon, Sussex: 75mm in 4 hours, Return period of 1 in 160 years. Southern

43
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Magnitude/severity/return England at risk from muddy floods after monthly rainfall totals of 200-300mm,
period which is twice or three times the average.
Abstract / overview
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Review of past muddy floods

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
Not this study - literature review.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Soil erosion during episodes of intense rainfall. Cereals are vulnerable if planted
in large areas on slopes. Muddy flooding becomes more likely after rainfall is two
or three times the average. Subsequent once rills and gullies established muddy
floods n can take place with much lower rainfall totals of 4mm per day.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 None directly. There is only a threat of litigation if it can be proved that the rainfall
event was “not exceptional but within the range of events that a farmer might be
expected to encounter during a working life”. (p.5)
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by
farmers or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3 In response to legal action by the Isle of Wight Council
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5 Many short term measures to control muddy flooding are unsuccessful such as
the use of emergency engineering solutions retention ponds, banks, drains; straw
bales have been used to slow runoff and filter out sediment.
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference BOARDMAN, J. 2010. A SHORT HISTORY OF MUDDY FLOODS. Land
Degradation & Development, 21, 303-309.

Ref [5.3] Stammers R (1984)


Title Soil erosion and flooding on downland areas.
ND
Review rating (pre) 5–2
Topic(s) Flooding from arable fields
Extreme weather hazard Heavy rainfall
covered
Date / Year 1982/83: November 27, December 7-8 1982.
Duration of hazard 2 months
Geographic Area(s) Lewes and Rottingdean, Sussex South Downs, SE.
Cost £12000 to councils (1982 prices); [£64000 2012.]
Type of farming Arable
Event Two falls of over 30+mm/day in November; then two falls of 20-25mm/day in
Magnitude/severity/return December event. In the study area 14 tonnes of soil was lost in two weeks, 1000
period tonnes in 2 months. Over 50 km² 66 sites reported erosion.
Abstract / overview Change of land use making slopes more vulnerable to muddy flooding, erosions and
soil loss.
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?

44
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-scale?


To other regions with similar issues, if records exist of costs to councils.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Loss of soil – impacts felt by house dwellers downslope and by local council.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 Impact on farms only later felt (see Boardman 2012)
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers or
altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3 This had been a recent phenomenon since the 1970s and policy responses were not
yet in place to facilitate land use change.
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4 Economic and attitudinal – the farmer in question refused to alter land us or to use
contour ploughing. Spring sowing was under consideration.
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5 None listed.

Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6 Bankruptcy of owner allowed the local council to purchase the land and return the
land to sheep grazing and reduce the risk of flooding and runoff “to zero”.
Full reference Stammers, R, Boardman, J (1984) SOIL EROSION AND FLOODING ON
DOWNLAND AREAS Surveyor, 164 (4804), pp. 8-11.

Ref [5.4] Posthumus et al 2008.


Title Agricultural land use and flood risk management: Engaging
with stakeholders in North Yorkshire
Review rating (pre-review) 5
Topic(s) Flood risk management, Agriculture, Runoff, Stakeholders, FARM tool
Extreme weather hazard Flooding
covered
Date / Year n/a
Duration of hazard n/a
Geographic Area(s) Skell & Laver catchments, eastern Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire &
Humber
Cost n/a
Type of farming Pasture and moorland, oil seed rape, maize, cereals
Event n/a
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview Recent changes in agricultural and flood defence policies create new
opportunities for involving rural land use, in particular agriculture, in flood risk
management. This paper presents the results of a case study on land
management and flooding in the Laver and Skell catchments in North Yorkshire.
The perceptions of local stakeholders were explored through interviews with
farmers and discussions among stakeholders that were held, supported by the
Floods and Agriculture Risk Matrix (FARM) tool, during a stakeholder workshop.
These stakeholder perceptions are reviewed against scientific evidence.
Temporary storage of runoff water on farmland was found to have potential to
mitigate flooding, but the participating stakeholders thought that this was beyond
farmers’ responsibility of good farming practice. During the stakeholder workshop,
it was therefore agreed among all participants that targeting funding is needed, as
well as stakeholder engagement and demonstration farms, in order to successfully

45
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

involve farmers in flood risk management.


Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Scoping study in the form of semi structured interviews with eight farmers. This
was followed by structured interviews with 25 farmers (including the original eight).
This was followed by a stakeholder workshop (n=23) involving farmers, NGOs (&
Yorkshire Water), EA, English Nature, Forestry Commission, Defra, and
Harrogate Borough Council. Reponses to the issue of flooding and its causes
were introduced in the stakeholder workshop. These were in the form of scenarios
showing illustrations of fields showing degradation and drainage problems. The
“FARM” tool was used to grade the level of flood risk for various land units; it
gauges the probability of runoff due to soil management practice and flow
connectivity. Stakeholders were asked on what responses in land management
would be needed for three scenarios to improve the situation.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
Yes.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Few, because overland flow was perceived to be a natural process as flooding
had been sporadic and not prolonged. Only farmers in the lower part of the
catchment reported problems of river bank erosion or debris on land caused by
flooding. Eleven of the farmers reported that they had fields where ponding had
occurred regularly.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 None reported, but the impact was felt downstream in 2000. [Flooding in Ripon
also occurred in 2007 after Environment Agency flood defence scheme was
cancelled, and also occurred in September 2012.]
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3 Four of the eleven farmers who experienced ponding in their fields had created
ponds in response. Generally surface runoff has been perceived to be a natural
phenomenon. As a result interviewees “did not feel a responsibility for flood risk
management” (p793). The interviewees found that flooding was caused by factors
such as urbanisation of the area and an increase in hard surfaces for roads had
exacerbated flood problems as well as river canalisation, intensive farming leading
to soil compaction and increased drainage of moorland at the head of the
catchment. The event up to 2008 had therefore generated little response and so
the adaptive responses elicited were in response to the scenarios presented to
the stakeholders at the workshop. Reponses included reducing of stocking at
critical flood risk periods, creation of ponds and surrounding vegetation, plant
trees along watercourses and removal of sediment from riverside ponds.
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4 The adaptation measures such as pond creation or planting would require
financial assistance and an appropriate funding scheme is required. Current
schemes such as the CAP were inappropriate if the benefit was for others. Also
current schemes do not provide enough incentive to change land management
practices due to the cost of changing. However bringing farmers together through
such workshops did have the effect of engaging farmers to good practice and
success stories, especially if this could be in combination of achieving other
objective such as pollution control and conservation.
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6 Cuts to the Environment Agency in 2006 had delayed the implementation of flood
defences for Ripon.
Full reference

46
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Ref 5.5 Semenov 2009


Title Impacts of climate change on wheat in England and Wales
Review rating (pre-review) 3 (5)
Topic(s) drought and heat stress; wheat simulation model; stochastic weather generator;
UKCIP02; LARS-WG; Sirius
Extreme weather hazard Drought and heat
covered
Date / Year 2050s
Duration of hazard
Geographic Area(s) England and Wales
Cost
Type of farming Wheat
Event
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview The frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events are likely to increase
with global warming. However, it is not clear how these events might affect
agricultural crops and whether yield losses resulting from severe droughts or heat
stress will increase in the future. The aim of this paper is to analyse changes in
the magnitude and spatial patterns of two impact indices for wheat: the probability
of heat stress around flowering and the severity of drought stress. To compute
these indices, we used a wheat simulation model combined with high-resolution
climate scenarios based on the output from the Hadley Centre regional climate
model at 18 sites in England and Wales. Despite higher temperature and lower
summer precipitation predicted in the UK for the 2050s, the impact of drought
stress on simulated wheat yield is predicted to be smaller than that at present,
because wheat will mature earlier in a warmer climate and avoid severe summer
drought. However, the probability of heat stress around flowering that might result
in considerable yield losses is predicted to increase significantly. Breeding
strategies for the future climate might need to focus on wheat varieties tolerant to
high temperature rather than to drought.
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Modelling of potential impacts of drought and heat waves on wheat.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
On UK scale – modeling down may be of use.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 The research found that by the 2050s the impact of drought would be less
because of warmer temperatures allowing wheat to mature earlier and thus be
less affected by drought stress. Heat stress around flowering could result in major
yield loss and this is predicted to increase significantly in probability.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5

47
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference SEMENOV, M. A. 2009. Impacts of climate change on wheat in England and
Wales. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 6, 343-350.

Ref 5.6 WREFORD, A. & ADGER, W. N. 2010


Title Adaptation in agriculture: historic effects of heat waves and droughts on UK
agriculture
Review rating (pre-review) 5 (5)
Topic(s) Adaptation, agriculture, climate change, drought, heat wave
Extreme weather hazard Drought; heat wave
covered
Date / Year Various from 1970-2006. Major events covered 1976, 1983/4, 1990-2, 1995-7,
2003, 2004-6.
Duration of hazard Multi month to multi year
Geographic Area(s) UK
Cost …
Type of farming Arable: potatoes, sugar beet, oil seed rape, wheat and barley. Livestock: beef,
cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry.
Event Droughts classified as major (but criteria missing for definition of major - see
Magnitude/severity/return Blenkinsop and Fowler (2007) J. Hydol. 342, 50-71).
period
Abstract / overview Extreme weather events are expected to increase in frequency and/or severity
under climate change. Recent examples of these types of events, such as the
heat wave in Europe in 2003, have caused considerable damage to crops and
agriculture and substantial economic damage. If similar damage was incurred
every time such an event occurred in the future, it would cause increasingly
serious loss to social welfare and the economy as the frequency or intensity of
these events increased. However, agriculture has a history of adapting to shocks,
and in this paper we aim to determine whether there has been a systematic
reduction in damage from historic extreme events over time in the agricultural
sector in the UK. The impact of comparable droughts or heat waves over the past
four decades is compared, and for many commodities there appears to have been
a reduction in damage over time, to the point where recent events have had a
minimal impact on production, indicating that the sector is relatively well adapted
to the current climate. We discuss whether this type of adaptation can be
sustained into the future under more rapid rates of change, or whether the 'low-
hanging' fruits of adaptation have been picked.
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Good records of drought and UK production data but not clear how severity or
length of drought might have played a role in the level of impact.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
Data could be scaled down to regional studies.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 For arable crops potatoes, oilseed rape and to a lesser extent wheat responded
with a decreasing deviation to mean yields after each successive drought.
However, sugar beet did not show a reduction in the level off impact from drought,
having been very negatively affected by the 1975-6 drought. Barley yields did not
respond with any particular pattern through the succession of droughts.
For livestock it was assumed that there was likely to be a delayed effect from
droughts as farmers sold stock after a poor year and effectively increase
production in the short term. This seems to be reflected in the sheep production
where in the immediate year of drought, production increased but fell
subsequently; overall the authors’ note that the impacts do not appear to reduce

48
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

over time.
For the pig sector, the drought had an impact on production but since 1975-76
there has been a generally a reduced level of impact. Poultry had a more
consistent pattern of reduction of impact from drought, so that by the 2003 drought
production actually increased.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 See Q1.
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
3 3
Response 3 The level of irrigation UK wide has increased from 55210m to 92883m between
1982 and 2005. In addition, at a deeper level of adaptation to drought, water
storage capacity has nearly doubled between 1984 and 1995 (after Orson 1996).
Though the response of cereals to irrigation has been uneconomic, this has led
farmers to adapt the time of sowing or harvesting, or introducing rapidly maturing
cultivars (after Orson 1996).
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4 Theoretically the barriers include particular types of agriculture because of land
quality constraints. Efforts to alter farmer behaviour by government agencies have
been reported to not always be successful as local knowledge and experience
was not seen as being valued (after Hall and Prety 2008).
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5 It is reported that some commodities may be the limits of being able to adapt.
They also note that after irrigation has been implemented there may be no further
irrigation possible, so historic adaptation may not necessarily indicate future
adaptive capacity.
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6 Dairy farming was omitted because of policy influence.


Full reference WREFORD, A. & ADGER, W. N. 2010. Adaptation in agriculture: historic effects of
heat waves and droughts on UK agriculture. International Journal of Agricultural
Sustainability, 8, 278-289.
 

Ref [no.] 5.7 Brown (1987)


Title Agriculture in England. A survey of farming, 1870-1947
Review rating (pre-review) 5
Topic(s) Impact of abnormal rainfall on agriculture in England
Extreme weather hazard
covered
Date / Year Best coverage on 1879. Also 1892.
Duration of hazard
Geographic Area(s) England
Cost
Type of farming All.
Event See Marsh (2008): In 1879 the rainfall from May to July was 184% the average
Magnitude/severity/return (1971 – 2000) for England and Wales (Marsh 2008).
period
Abstract / overview
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Useful analogue for seasonal shift and abnormally heavy rain occurring in the
growing season. Sources of data could be useful for further study.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?

49
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 In both 1879 and 1880 the weather was particularly wet in the main growing and
ripening seasons. Abnormal rainfall was reported in the Midlands, central southern
England and East Anglia. Brown (1987) describes the impact on cereal yields was
that yields were 50-75% of normal of the average of the years 1873-77. The
following year saw harvest similarly affected though there were areas of the
country that were much less affected such as Cornwall. Wheat was the worst
affected crop. Livestock farming was affected as pastures were waterlogged. The
problems were exacerbated by a dry spring in 1880 reducing grass growth and
rain affecting haymaking. As a result stocks were reported to be underweight and
“out of condition”. However, disease compounded the problems, such as foot rot
affecting sheep, liver fluke; the latter reportedly killing nearly 10% of sheep in two
years. Worst affected areas were the unusually wet Midlands such as
Leicestershire, where there was as much as a 37% decline in sheep numbers by
1881 in comparison to 1878.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5 …
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference

Ref [Grey 5.9] Bradley 2012


Title The Wet Cold Summer of 2012. A Farmers View.
Review rating (pre-review) 5
Topic(s) Impact on single farm
Extreme weather hazard Multiple episodes of rain coupled with low temperatures. Cold Spring.
covered
Date / Year 2012
Duration of hazard One year.
Geographic Area(s) Ribblesdale, near Settle, western Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire &
Humber.
Cost n/a
Type of farming Livestock
Event n/a
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview Impact of cold wet weather during the year of 2012 on a livestock farm.
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Anecdotal report. Gives a clear report on the impacts for an individual pasture farm
in northern England.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?

50
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Would need to be organised into a survey of farmers. See 2007 study.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 In Spring 2012, low temperatures prevailed and after a warmer interlude the rain
was coupled with colder temperatures; this resulted in very low grass growth, and
ewes lactated less milk so that lambs grew more slowly. Subsequently persistent
rain, so that it was “continually wet” was coupled with lower temperatures. This had
the effect that a grazing animal eats a lot of water with the grass and dilutes the
energy from the grass, and animals cannot physically eat enough to satisfy their
requirements. Fattening lambs has therefore taken much longer than usual to
reach a marketable weight, an extension of three to four weeks in their
development.
In addition, the farm produced 10% less silage in 2012. In terms of grass, it was
estimated that a month’s worth of grass was loss or a sixth of annual grass growth.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 The price rose early in the seasons because of the slow growth of the lambs. By
autumn there were a larger than usual number of autumn lambs that were lighter
with less meat so the price dropped per lamb and per kilo.
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3 If there are to be likely to be wetter summers farmers are likely to increase reliance
on grass production. Adaptation options might include reseeding with modern
varieties of grass and closer to reduce the need for feeds and fertilizer and more
flexibility of marketing of stock.
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4 If lambs could be marketed earlier this would alleviate the problem but because of
the bad weather many farmers have lambs later in the season. Cereals to assist
are expensive and can only be used “tactically rather than a blanket approach”.
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6 Cereals are at a historically high price due to world shortages and drought.
Full reference Bradley A (2012) The Wet Cold Summer of 2012. A Farmers View. Yorkshire Dales
Review 121, 6.
 

Ref 5.10 Coulthard TJ (2012)


Title Using the UKCP09 probabilistic scenarios to model the amplified impact of
climate change on drainage basin sediment yield
Review rating (pre-review) 4 (5)
Topic(s) Climate change sediment yield River Swale.
Extreme weather hazard Extreme rainfall
covered
Date / Year 2070-2099
Duration of hazard n/a
Geographic Area(s) River Swale catchment, North Yorkshire Y&H
Cost …
Type of farming Upland
Event Change in intensity of high rainfall events: The 1 in 50 year event will increase
Magnitude/severity/return form a baseline 85.6mm to 109.5mm with discharges of the river increasing from
3 -1 3 -1
period 114.4m s to 168.54m s .
Abstract / overview Precipitation intensities and the frequency of extreme events are projected to
increase under climate change. These rainfall changes will lead to increases in
the magnitude and frequency of flood events that will, in turn, affect patterns of
erosion and deposition within river basins. These geomorphic changes to river

51
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

systems may affect flood conveyance, infrastructure resilience, channel pattern,


and habitat status as well as sediment, nutrient and carbon fluxes. Previous
research modelling climatic influences on geomorphic changes has been limited
by how climate variability and change are represented by downscaling from global
or regional climate models. Furthermore, the non-linearity of the climatic,
hydrological and geomorphic systems involved generates large uncertainties at
each stage of the modelling process creating an uncertainty "cascade".
This study integrates state-of-the-art approaches from the climate change and
geomorphic communities to address these issues in a probabilistic modelling
study of the Swale catchment, UK. The UKCP09 weather generator is used to
simulate hourly rainfall for the baseline and climate change scenarios up to 2099,
and used to drive the CAESAR landscape evolution model to simulate
geomorphic change. Results show that winter rainfall is projected to increase, with
larger increases at the extremes. The impact of the increasing rainfall is amplified
through the translation into catchment runoff and in turn sediment yield with a
100% increase in catchment mean sediment yield predicted between the baseline
and the 2070-2099 High emissions scenario. Significant increases are shown
between all climate change scenarios and baseline values. Analysis of extreme
events also shows the amplification effect from rainfall to sediment delivery with
even greater amplification associated with higher return period events.
Furthermore, for the 2070-2099 High emissions scenario, sediment discharges
from 50-yr return period events are predicted to be 5 times larger than baseline
values. © Author(s) 2012.
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
UKCP09 weather generator to give probabilistic projection of precipitation. The
weather generator applies monthly changer factors to observed statistics derived
for 5 km cells across the UK. This was used for inputs into the CAESAR
landscape evolution model to calculate catchment erosion and deposition. There
may be some issues with rainfall totals being assumed across the catchment
which could affect the results.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
Could be done for larger river catchments, so long as rainfall data coverage is
sufficient.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Floods sizes and increased sediment loads will have significant effects on channel
siltation, instability and channel pattern change. There will be knock on effects of
bridges, flood defences and channel control structures being undermined or
eroded.
For the time period 2050, we can use the 2030-2069 period. For the 95 percentile,
(or 1 in 20 year return period) maximum daily rainfall rises from a 77.6mm
baseline to over 90mm both Medium and High Scenarios. The maxima of daily
3 -1
discharge at baseline is 98 m s ; Under Medium and High Scenarios this rises to
128-9m s ; sediment yield increase from just under 30 000 m3 to approximately
3 -1
3
100m for both Medium and High Scenarios - this is over three times the baseline
load.
By the final time period of 2077-2099 a 95 percentile event could have a sediment
load over four times in volume.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

52
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference
 

Ref 5.11.  Subak 1997


Title Agriculture
Review rating (pre‐review) 5 (5)
Topic(s) Impact of the 1995 drought
Extreme weather hazard  Drought and high temperatures
covered
Date / Year  1995
Duration of hazard 
Geographic Area(s) UK
Cost NB 1997 prices.
£180 million UK wide.
Summary of Estimated losses and gains (£ millions)

Losses Gains Net

Arable Crops +30

Major Crops -61 +120 +59

Vegetable and minor crops -40 +10 -30

Livestock -207

Pigs -6 -6

Cattle -198 +4 -194

Poultry -7 -7

(data from Subak 1997: 53)


Type of farming  All
Event  n/a
Magnitude/severity/return 
period 
Abstract / overview  A study of the economic effects of the drought of 1995 on farming, with details on
why yields were affected.
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Recorded yields of arable crops, livestock and fish farming were compared against
predicted yields based upon ten year trends, except for vegetables based on a five
year trend. Major crops and some livestock populations were compared with 1976
yield and production. The economic impact was estimated using estimated yield
surplus. Regional differences only highlighted in some cases.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-scale?


Study on a UK scale, so possible to scale down to regional a level.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 There were positive impacts on arable crops for the UK mains crops which includes

53
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

wheat, barley and oilseed rape. Sugar beet reported the highest surplus (due to
higher prices) but this was countered by higher costs due to the high temperatures.
Vegetable production suffered losses with low yields. Deficits were around 3 t/ha
from predicted values. Potatoes suffered the largest loss in terms of production. Root
crops such as carrots, parsnips and onions were affected and additional pesticides
were needed to counter act cutworms which thrived in the hotter weather.
The livestock sector saw an increase in costs for purchased feeds in the South and
East. This was accompanied by a loss of fertility in pigs and poultry. As population
figures for sheep and cattle population had been in decline over the last five years
making the impact of the 1995 drought on livestock production difficult to discern.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 Losses due to the drought were far less than the 1976 drought, where yields from
crops were estimated to be £270 million.
Losses from reduced forage crops reduction led to costs of £68 million and an extra
£12 million needed to be spent on feeds (After ADAS 1996).
Additional irrigation for 3000 ha of brassicas resulted in an extra cost of £1.0 million.
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers or
altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3 Investment in field drainpipes for irrigation increased in late 1994 to early 1995 by
6%. This helped to reduce the level losses compared to the drought of 1976.
Farmers also response in 1995 by changing applications of herbicides, fungicides
and pesticides.
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4 There are limits to irrigation as restrictions on abstraction were in place in East
Anglia, Herefordshire, Hampshire and Lancashire. Repeated dry years could “force
farmers to make irrigation priorities” possibly in favour of high value crops such as
carrots, potatoes and sugar beet. The benefits of irrigating cereals are seen to be
low.
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5 Implicit in the study if there were to be repeated dry years a tipping point in terms of
the type of farming practised may be reached.
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6 For potatoes the low yields resulted in large price increase in the UK, which resulted
in gross margins of £624 million
Full reference Subak S (1997) Agriculture, in Economic Impacts of the Hot Summer and Unusually
Warm Year of 1995, (Eds) Palutokof JP Subak S Agnew M D, UEA Norwich 45-55.
pp178.

Ref [GREY 5.12.1 ] Unsworth et al. 1993a


Title Impacts of the Mild Winter and Hot Summers in the United Kingdom in
1988-1990
Review rating (pre-review) 5 (5)
Topic(s) Impact of warm winters on agriculture.
Extreme weather hazard Two successive mild winters.
covered
Date / Year 1988-1990
Duration of hazard Two years
Geographic Area(s) UK
Cost In 1989, the cost of brown rust on barley yields was £12.2 million. Reduced
prices on some horticultural crops (see Q2).
Type of farming All
Event
Magnitude/severity/return
period

54
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Abstract / overview …
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Pests and diseases
There was an increase incidence of bird pests surviving the two mild winters, but
damage was lower because of other natural food supplies not necessarily
available in a severe winter. There was an upsurge un damage to crops by mice
to emerging crops, and slugs damaged soft fruit and vegetable crops. Because
1988/89 was relatively wet, resowing of crops was necessary. There was a high
level of aphids despite use of aphicides.
Many weeds survived the mild winters due to a lack of frosts though this did
affect early sown cereal and oil seed rape which outgrew the weeds.
Cereals
Some cereals were affected by mildew, yellow rust and barley yellow dwarf
virus, necessitating unusually large volumes of fungicides to be used. Crops
experienced unusually early growth of autumn sown cereals with the result that
the timing of fertiliser and growth regulators had to be retimed.
Potatoes
The main problems were in storage facilities due to disease or early sprouting of
seed crop (which could be offset if such tubers could be plated early too).
Horticultural crops
Crops were advanced and yields were good, though unrefrigerated stores had
problems with rot, especially onions. However some orchards were decimated
by a late frost occurring in March and April 1990 after the mild winter, though
others were unaffected.
Livestock
Grass grew in most parts of the UK during the winters of 21988-89 but the
summer was hot and dry leading to shortages in the south west where stock
famers had to buy in feed stuff, and leave stock outside for longer. There was an
increase in calf pneumonia and lugworm, and parasites affecting sheep in 1989.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 Between November 1988 and February 1989 the wholesale price of Brussel
sprouts was down between 4 and 35% compared with 1987/88. Carrots saw
prices drop by 52% in the same period as yields were good but quality poor for
both.
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by
farmers or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6 High yields in horticultural crops coincided with a depressed market and storage
affected the quality of produce as a result of disease or other damage.

Full reference Cannell M G R and Pitcairn C E R (Eds) (1993a) Impact on Agriculture and
Horticulture, Chapter A4, 54-62, in Impacts of Mild Winters and Hot Summers in

55
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

the United Kingdom 1988-90, HMSO, London pp154.

Ref [GREY 5.12.2] Unsworth et al. 1993b


Title Impacts of the Mild Winter and Hot Summers in the United Kingdom in
1988-1990
Review rating (pre-review) 5 (5)
Topic(s) Hot summer impact on agriculture
Extreme weather hazard The hot summer of 1990 after two mild winters.
covered
Date / Year 1989-1990
Duration of hazard Two Years
Geographic Area(s) UK
Cost n/a
Type of farming All
Event Some of the hottest temperatures recorded in the UK during August 1990.
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview …
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Report on the various impacts on yield sand quality of agricultural products from
around the UK. The impact of the summer on a lot of crops in terms of yield
relative to the norm was not given, so general impacts are described.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
Already UK wide scale.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 With low rainfall there was an increasing need for irrigation and restrictions were
placed in abstraction in the East and South East. Warnings were made over
Chlorine levels in eastern coastal areas.
Pests
There was a lower incidence of leaf diseases reliant on rainsplash such as
mildew and leaf spot. For cereals brown rust was more of a problem than the
more usual yellow rust. Powdery mildew occurred earlier on sugar beet than
previously and 1990 foliar diseases had the largest impact.
The root disease “take all” infecting root and stems had a high incidence as a
result of a mild winter, moist cool spring and an early dry summer affecting the
1989/90 crop.
Viral diseases were a severe problem due to a high number of aphids. Aphids
also caused direct damage to crops, though they declined during episodes of
the hottest weather in summer 1990.
Cereals
Overall, yields were down on the long term average in both years 1989 and
1990. Winter cereals fared better from the hot dry summer due to having a good
root system which had developed over the winter. Cereal development was
advanced. Thee drought in 1990s and high temperatures reduced the period for
grain filling, and some crops ripened prematurely with a high proportion of
shrivelling, with the result that yields were down. However in northern England,
crops yields were up, especially on the good soils in Humberside (see Q2).
Potatoes
If potatoes could be irrigated then yields and quality were good, though un-
irrigated crops were affected by drought; water stress was a problem in the
Midlands and North West. In 1990 maincrop potatoes were damaged by rain in
September 1990. Many farmers opted to put potatoes into storage due to low

56
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

prices in 1990. However the temperature of the tubers was too high for
immediate storage which led to sprouting and older state of tubers at harvest.
Other Crops
Sown and harvested early, nationally yields above average
Oilseed rape had below average yields in 1989 and 1990, though crop quality
was good. Vegetable crops were highly variable depending ion soil type,
management and if irrigation was available. High temperatures did affect lettuce,
cabbage and sprouts by causing bolting.
Grapes and fruit developed early after the mild winters of 1988 and 1989 but
were very badly affected by the late frosts which exceeded the positive impact
on yields of the 1900 summer – those areas unaffected by frosts had excellent
yields.
Livestock
Milk output was affected negatively between April and October 1990.
Livestock was affected by heat stress, although animal health was reportedly
good – there may have been an impact on ewes and lambing.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 Impact on Cereals
There were positive impacts on yields in the north compared to other regions
which suffered due to the drought. There was double the amount of wheat with
protein levels suitable for bread making.
Humberside 12.5 t / ha; Lighter drier soils in Cornwall, Norfolk and Suffolk: 3.8 t /
ha; E Midlands some recording only 1.3 t / ha.
However, farmers were selling cereals at a reduced price than normal due to the
lower moisture content on the crops in 1990. Some grain had to be cooled once
harvested due to temperatures exceeding 30°C due to the risk of infestation and
mould.
Other crops
Vegetable crops were down on average yield from 10 to 80% depending on crop
and region. Tomatoes were affected by low humidity in the hot summer of 1990.
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by
farmers or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3 Many farmers opted to put potatoes into storage due to low prices in 1990.
However the temperature of the tubers was too high for immediate storage
which led to sprouting and older state of tubers at harvest
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference Unsworth M H, Scott R K, Cox J S, Bardell K (1993b) Impact on Agriculture and
Horticulture, Chapter B4, 127-139, in Impacts of Mild Winters and Hot Summers
in the United Kingdom 1988-90, Cannell M G R and Pitcairn C E R (Eds)
HMSO, London pp154.

57
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

PRESS ARTICLE: FARMERS WEEKLY 1953


Ref [GREY 5.13] Anon
Title 250,000 acres flooded by Sea Water; New Peril to 500 Square Miles; The next
Task - Getting Rid of the SALT
Review rating (pre-review) 5
Topic(s) North Sea Storm Surge
Extreme weather hazard North Sea Storm Surge, flooding, salt damage.
covered
Date / Year January 1953
Duration of hazard Up to 1 year
Geographic Area(s) East Coast and immediate hinterland
Cost
Type of farming Grazing and arable
Event n/a
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview ..
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
List of immediate impacts of the flood, scale of losses were not yet known

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
No.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 250, 000 acres reported flooded by the Ministry of Agriculture. Damage greater
than that reported for 1947 flood, even though it was a third of the total area
flooded. Regionally Norfolk had 30,000 acres, mostly affecting arable land. In
Suffolk at least 10 000 acres, and Essex had 30-50,000 acres flooded particularly
in the south. East Riding of Yorkshire had 3000 acres flooded. In Kent 40 000
acres under water about 1/8 was arable land with 200 cattle and 4000 sheep
reported lost in that area.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference

58
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Ref [4.1] Dennis et al 2003


Title The impact of the October–November 2000 floods on contaminant metal
dispersal in the River Swale catchment, North Yorkshire, UK
Review rating (pre-review) 4 (4)
Topic(s) Metal contamination of floodplain sediments
Extreme weather hazard Fluvial floods
covered
Date / Year Autumn floods 2000
Duration of hazard Multi year
Geographic Area(s) Swale catchment, North Yorkshire, Yorkshire & Humber.
Cost n/a
Type of farming Livestock (Dales) and arable, Vale of York.
Event Highest floods in 375 years at York. Highest floods in the Yorkshire Dales since
Magnitude/severity/return 1986.
period
Abstract / overview
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Seventy samples of fine grained sediment were collected from 35 sites along the
River Swale. Overbank sediment was analysed within 10m of the bank line along
the whole course of the River Swale. Concentrations of Lead, Zinc and Cadmium
were measured. These were compared with previous analysis from the Swale and
its tributaries.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
Replication of study at other at risk catchments possible.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Contamination of sediment occurred on flood plain sites in agricultural use. Due
to mining activities which reached a peak in the nineteenth century washout of
metals occurs. It was found that concentration of Cd Pb and Zn exceeded MAFF
guidelines, ( though Cd and Zn were under Dutch safety levels). However Pb at
35% of sites was above danger levels. Previous analysis in 1996 recorded very
much higher concentration of Cd, Pb, and Zn, most likely because of a dilution
effect of greater sediment loads in the 2000 floods. Consequently catchments like
the River Swale with historic mines pose a flood related risk of contaminated
sediments on floodplains and more frequent flooding associated with climate
change would exacerbate that hazard.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 n/a
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4 ….
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5 ….
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6 n/a
Full reference

59
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Ref [4.2] Collier R (2008)


Title Vulnerability of horticultural crop production to
extreme weather events
Review rating (pre-review) (4-5) 4
Topic(s) Climate change, model, pest insect, crop
Extreme weather hazard Heat, drought and excessive rain
covered
Date / Year Case studies from 2000, 2006 and 2007. Projections for the 2020s and 2050s
Duration of hazard Months – year.
Geographic Area(s) UK
Cost
Type of farming Horticulture
Event n/a
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Modelling study based on previous impacts. UKCIP02 models used with crop
models. No levels of impact on yield given as a result of running the weather
generator. Some useful indications of yields reductions from examples of past
events.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 High temperatures during development can cause yield loss of all horticultural
crops. Critical times of crops are during flowering and seed development stages.
For seeds the hot summer of 2006 led to shortages of certain seed varieties in
2007. Furthermore, hybridisation is hampered by extreme high temperatures as..
“… breeders rely on simultaneous flowering for both parents and plant at different
times to achieve this. This has proved to be increasingly difficult in recent years
(p.5).
Drought in 2006 also caused problems with the drying out of the soil so such as
extent that it was impossible to transplant horticultural crops. Such was the
demand for water for transplant that irrigation was impossible.
However heat waves can have a beneficial effect by inducing dormancy and
delaying population growth in certain pests. Nevertheless a background of general
warming has been predicted to initiate aphid activity by 9 days earlier in the 2020s
and 20 days earlier in the 2050s. The effect of rain and rain splash on pests and
diseases will depend on the species and timing of the event.
In 2007, the floods had a significant impact on the potato crop. Yields were low
and there was greening of potatoes. Around 2000 ha of crop was lost. In 2000,
the heavy rains of autumn prevented harvest machinery from operating on the
land, so that by Christmas about 25,000 ha (20% of the crop) had not been lifted.

Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?


Response 2
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4

60
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference Collier, Rosemary, et al. "Vulnerability of horticultural crop production to extreme
weather events." Aspects of Applied Biology 88 (2008): 3-14.

Ref [4.3.] Jaggard 1998


Title The relative effects of drought stress and virus yellows on the yield of sugar
beet in the UK, 1980-95
Review rating (pre-review) 4 (4)
Topic(s)
Extreme weather hazard Drought
covered
Date / Year 1980-1995
Duration of hazard
Geographic Area(s) Two sites in Suffolk and Nottinghamshire
Cost Average loss to drought calculated to be £25.9 million at 1996 prices.
Type of farming Sugar beet
Event n/a
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
The losses of sugar beet production were analysed at two sites relating yield loss
with cumulative soil moisture deficit in combination with meteorological records,
soil type and crop distribution data. The data from the sites were combined with
annual survey data to calculate losses from disease.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Sugar beet is generally supposed to be drought resistant in the UK, though yields
are more susceptible to summer drought than mainland Europe at the same
latitude of 52N which as higher summer rainfall totals and soils with greater water
storage capacity. During a dry summer in the UK a maximum of 17% has been
irrigated and this level was predicted to drop due to pressure on abstraction
licenses. Average losses of sugar beet to drought are >10%.
Over the 16 years from 1980-1995 losses ranged from zero to 365,000 tonnes or
27.5% of production in 1995, a significant drought year. In 12 out of 16 years,
losses due to drought exceeded 2% of national yield averaging 179,000 tonnes.
In comparison with losses to disease (virus yellows) losses from drought were
almost always larger.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 Losses of £25.9 million on average based on average world sugar price of £200
per ton. In 12 out of 16 years the losses amounted to £33 million.
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3 n/a
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

61
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Response 4 Cost is a barrier for sugar beet breeding companies to develop drought stress
tolerant species.
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference JAGGARD, K. W., DEWAR, A. M. & PIDGEON, J. D. 1998. The relative effects of
drought stress and virus yellows on the yield of sugar beet in the UK, 1980-95.
Journal of Agricultural Science, 130, 337-343.

Ref [4.4.] Asher 1991


Title Forecasting The National Incidence of Sugar-Beet Powdery Mildew from
Weather Data in Britain
Review rating (pre-review) 4 (4)
Topic(s) Sugar beet
Extreme weather hazard Frost and summer temperatures
covered
Date / Year 1980-89
Duration of hazard
Geographic Area(s) England
Cost
Type of farming Arable: sugar beet
Event n/a
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Meteorological records from Brooms Barn agro-meteorological station to calculate
frost units for January to March and daily maximum minimum temperatures were
used for average summer (April to August) temperatures; daily rainfall was
measured for cumulative rainfall. The disease incidence was the percentage crop
area infected by powdery mildew at the end of August. Initially, correspondence
between disease incidence and each independent variable in turn was examined
using simple linear regression. “Linear models were superior to higher order
polynomials in all cases. Subsequently, stepwise multiple regression was used to
test the contribution of additional variables to those models which had achieved
statistical significance, thus identifying the model of best fit”. The area of sugar
beet grown had been relatively constant in the period as it was subject to EEC
quotas.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
Results were scaled up to national level.

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 The greatest influence on powdery mildew was found to be the number of frost
days during February and March. This was a stronger influence than frosts earlier
in the winter and was a stronger influence than other factors. Warm summer and
infrequent rain favours the disease. Geographically the patter of powdery mildew
follows a “well defined pattern”. Beginning in the South East, in Essex the
diseases spread northwards into East Anglia by the end of August in most years.
Its dispersal into western areas is only during more favourable years and rarely
occurs in the north of England.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?

62
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Response 2
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference ASHER, M. J. C. & WILLIAMS, G. E. 1991. FORECASTING THE NATIONAL
INCIDENCE OF SUGAR-BEET POWDERY MILDEW FROM WEATHER DATA IN
BRITAIN. Plant Pathology, 40, 100-107.

Ref [4.5.] Harker 1990


Title The weather in England and Wales - August 1989 to July 1990
Review rating (pre-review) 4
Topic(s)
Extreme weather hazard Extreme Gales plus sea inundation (in Wales); Spring frosts; drought during
covered summer and heat in August.
Date / Year 1989-1990
Duration of hazard Multi event over one year.
Geographic Area(s) UK
Cost n/a
Type of farming All.
Event n/a
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Effect of drought in September 1989 shortage of grazing and poor hay and silage
crops. Very dry for seed bed preparation very high wear and tea on machinery. By
October 1990, high levels of mildew were reported on barley and wheat.
25 January widespread extreme gales over 80kt [82 kt Leeds – DS] with damage
to buildings, power lines and trees blown down.
26-27 February 1990 surge plus high winds caused sea water flooding in North
Wales as sea defences were breached. High winds over Britain. [NB 14 people
died from these gales gusts >80kts Yorkshire -DS].
April 1990 severe frosts damaged tender plant particularly oil seed rape, barley,
and plum and pear blossom.
May 1990 drought stress as parts of central and southern England had 10%
average rainfall. Spring cereals and beans were most vulnerable. Cereal disease
increased and aphid activity unusually early and pea moth earlier. June rain
benefited many crops but not those on light soils. Drought persisted in some
southern areas with no rain for up to 24 consecutive days in July 1990, which was

63
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

drier and sunnier than normal. Harvesting excellent but yields from late sown
crops was very variable. Root crops were under stress because of restrictions on
water abstraction for irrigation.
[August 2 1990: record heat in northern England: DS]
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference Harker P V (1990) The weather in England and Wales - August 1989 to July 1990,
Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England 151, 216-220

Ref [4.6] Bowden 1983


Title A survey of cutworm attacks in England and Wales, and a descriptive
population model for Agrotis segetum (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
Review rating (pre-review) 4 (4)
Topic(s)
Extreme weather hazard Warm dry summer and cutworm epidemic
covered
Date / Year 1976 and 1949
Duration of hazard Seasonal - summer
Geographic Area(s) England and Wales
Cost n/a
Type of farming Arable
Event
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview Surveys of larval populations and numbers of reports of damage showed that from
1945 to 1978 Agrotis segetum was the commonest species of cutworm, causing
most damage, to a wide range of crops, from July to October. Attacks varied in
extent and severity between years, the most severe damage occurring in 1949
and in 1976. A model has been devised to estimate an index of larval survival to
third instar, based on temperature-rate of development relationships and mortality
due to daily rainfall. This survival index is highly correlated with year-to-year
changes in numbers of reported attacks by A. segetum. The model suggests that
weather conditions alone were responsible for the last major cutworm outbreak in
1976.
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Summaries of pest outbreak from MAFF were taken from 1945 and mapped by
district level. A model was developed using meteorological data (rainfall and
temperature) from a site in Suffolk to predict outbreaks. The relevance of study is
due to its focus on the relationship of weather and pests rather than climate
change.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?

64
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Damage by cutworms most frequently affects lettuce though root crops such as
beet and potatoes were the most reported hosts. Cutworm incidence is associated
with warm dry weather, though migration is another contributing factor. There
were large outbreaks of cutworm in 1949 and 1976, and the incidence of the 1976
was accompanied by daily high temperatures 15-20⁰C mean temperature. There
is circumstantial evidence that rain or irrigation on potatoes reduced cutworm
damage.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2 n/a
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference BOWDEN, J., COCHRANE, J., EMMETT, B. J., MINALL, T. E. & SHERLOCK, P.
L. 1983. A survey of cutworm attacks in England and Wales, and a descriptive
population model for Agrotis segetum (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Annals of Applied
Biology, 102, 29-47.

Ref [3.1] Van Dijk 2009


Title Climate change and infectious disease: helminthological challenges to
farmed ruminants in temperate regions
Review rating (pre-review) 3 (4)
Topic(s) Parasites and disease.
Extreme weather hazard Long term weather change.
covered
Date / Year Multi year
Duration of hazard Multi year
Geographic Area(s) UK
Cost
Type of farming
Event
Magnitude/severity/return
period
Abstract / overview
Methods: Methodological quality; relevance of that research design; relevance of the
study focus; Are the findings clear?
Reports on patterns of incidence of parasites and disease related to weather but
no correlation given. Incidence is expected to increase with climate change as
long terms trends are illustrated, but extreme weather events are not covered
except in a review of cases from tropical areas.

Scalability: Could the data/findings collected by scaled up to a regional or national-


scale?
Study at UK scale.

65
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Question 1: What direct impacts (on English farms) occurred? Why? OR were what
indirect effects (i.e. weather influencing diseases or pests)?
Response 1 Incidence is expected to increase with climate change, but extreme weather
events are not covered. There has been a reported increase in incidence in the
epidemiology of helminthes (parasitic worms). In recent years. The authors state
that it is impossible to quantify the effects of rainfall on the development of
parasitic and intermediate host for snail borne parasites. Nematodes incidence
can be explained by temperature. Drought breaking rains are documented to
increase the number of larval nematodes, using evidence from Queensland,
Australia.
Question 2: What was the socio-economic impact of these events on farms?
Response 2
Question 3: Have, and if so how, such events triggered an adaptive response by farmers
or altered attitudes towards business planning?
Response 3
Question 4: Are there barriers to adaptation?

Response 4
Question 5: Is there a tipping point where adaptation is no longer viable?

Response 5
Question 6: Are there any affects (economic etc.) influencing the level of impact?

Response 6
Full reference VAN DIJK, J., SARGISON, N. D., KENYON, F. & SKUCE, P. J. 2010. Climate
change and infectious disease: helminthological challenges to farmed ruminants
in temperate regions. Animal, 4, 377-392.

66
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Appendix 3: Scenario narratives


S1: Summer flooding  
In 2012 the UK overall had 371mm of summer rainfall, though the summer in 1912 was
wetter (384 mm) and is the closest analogue. As the average in England is ~190mm, the
1912 value equates to a 200% increase.
Rainfall amounts exceed 200% above the mean for the East and West Midlands and the
East of England for the period from June - August. Although temperatures remain around
average for the time of year light levels remain consistently low because of long periods of
cloud cover. With many convectional storms embedded in slow moving fronts rainfall
intensity is +20% above the mean (mm per day).
The summer mean for this scenario is 354mm for the East and West Midlands and the East
of England. Over 150mm falls in one day in large parts of the East of England. Unlike other
scenarios, the analogue for this scenario has not been augmented. Below the pattern for
summer rainfall between 1910 and 2010 shows the extent of the extreme rainfall in summer
1912.

Source: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly

Figure 7: Met Office Summer rainfall in England from 1910-2012.

Impacts 
This leads to localised flooding, waterlogged soils and soil erosion as some locations
experience falls of over 150mm in a 24 hour period. Some rivers draining upland areas have
triple the erosive power of current floods and there are landslips in many locations and
muddy floods from arable fields where there is little cover, even affecting gentle slopes. The
risk of heavy metals and other pollutants being released is increased, e.g. from old lead spoil
tips on the Pennines, leading to further accumulations in parts of the floodplain.

There are impacts on both spring-sown crops and crops still in the ground, including high-
value crops such as potatoes and horticulture and late forage crops such as second/third cut
silage or forage maize. Problems are created at harvest in terms of getting the crop in and
drying it to the required moisture content for storage. Grain quality, particularly for milling
67
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

wheat is likely to be affected. Harvesting in these conditions will also lead to soil compaction
and ridging, leading to increased flooding problems and nutrient leaching.

In the livestock sector, farmers either have to house animals with requirements for additional
feed with further impacts in terms of diseases such as mastitis, laminitis and increase in liver
fluke, or consider moving them to flood-free ground. There are knock-on effects in the winter
when a lack of straw and bedding and forage increases costs or welfare risks for animals
particularly beef, dairy and sheep but also pigs and poultry when cereal prices may have
increased. There are reduced finishing times as animals are housed and fed or increased
costs to the farmer to get animals finished when they cannot find grazing. Slurry stores are
likely to become overburdened as farmers are unable to spread.

S2: Two wet autumn/winters 
Rainfall amounts exceed 200% above the average across England for the period from
September to November. The mean rainfall for the North East is 462mm while for the North
West the mean is 550mm for the autumn period. In addition, the summers are relatively wet,
keeping groundwater levels high. Temperatures remain close to the mean at 10-13⁰C for the
time of year.

These conditions reflect a strong Atlantic pattern as slow moving deep depressions push far
into Eastern Europe bringing gales and prolonged frontal rain to much of the continent.
Consequently much of mainland Europe suffers similar wet conditions. In autumn 2000
rainfall was 179% of mean autumn rainfall in England and Wales. A 20% increase in rainfall
totals would take the autumn total over 200% of the 1981-2010 mean.

In England, the pattern for autumn rainfall (September to November) is shown below. Unlike
summer rainfall extremes which indicates a more cyclical pattern this appears to show an
increasing trend for autumn extremes.

Source: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly

Figure 8: Autumn rainfall totals in England

68
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Impacts 
A 20% increase in rainfall intensity and 450-550mm rainfall means leads to widespread
flooding, waterlogged soils and soil erosion. Landslips occur and bridges are scoured in
many river valleys. Winter crops either can’t be sown or are slow to grow, and are weak,
weedy and patchy. Because of the flooding some crops need re-sowing. There is an
increase in certain diseases such as mildew on cereals and pests such as aphids. Seed
ends up in short supply as a result of loss of earlier sowings, or may become more
expensive. Access to land is hampered by waterlogging, with compaction of soil and
poaching of field entrances occurring. Land is compressed by traffic while water logged and
so soil quality is compromised/hard to recover.

In livestock there is a rise in welfare issues, foot rot, production problems and disease
transmission associated with housing animals and high humidity in housing. Reproduction
problems are associated with poor quality feed. There are additional costs to the farmer
associated with either housing or moving animals to flood free areas. Housing animals has a
potential impact on slurry storage (especially if not separated from rainwater) and distribution
(i.e. difficulty in spreading leading to a risk of non-compliance and damage to soil and
watercourses).

S3: Mild winters 
A succession of two particularly mild winters with an absence of cold / wet winter conditions
prompts early crop growth. The main interest in this scenario is the impact on pests and
disease in both crops and livestock. Mean temperatures for winter in the South West are
7.7⁰C and 6.3⁰C for the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber. Frost becomes restricted
to 2-3 days in a few locations and many milder locations have no frost at all.

For the 2050s Hansen et al. (2012) assume that extremely warm winter will be in the order of
3 Standard Deviations (+3σ) above the mean. The baseline (1951-1980) mean winter
temperature for England is 3.6⁰C, but +3σ means that this has will have risen to a mean of
7.2⁰C. The closest analogue years are 1988-89, 1989-90 and 2007 with 1.4-1.7σ; although
1975 was cooler than 2007, there were three fewer frost days than 2007.
Table 13: Summary of past mild winters
Year Mean Winter No. of days of
Temp ⁰C airfrost in winter
(England and Wales)
1990 6.1 12.5
1989 6.0 13.5
2007* 6.2 17.1
1975 6.0 14.2
Mean + 3σ 7.2

Impacts 
The mild winters result in an increase in pest incidence, e.g. aphids, with damage to cereals,
fruit and vegetables. Vernalisation is hampered in many fruit trees leading to a decrease in
budding, flowering and fruit production. Some crops also affected by the lack of cold
temperatures for vernalisation. Crops also suffer increased competition from weeds, leading
to lower crop yields (this is often in association with a dry period followed by sudden rain
showers when weeds take advantage of the rain and are able to outgrow the young crops).
Disease outbreaks also increase e.g. in the form of mildew and rust affecting cereals. There
are problems of spoiling during storage for certain unprotected crops such as onions and
potatoes and refrigeration costs increase.

69
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

In the livestock sector animals suffer from an increase in parasites and vector borne
diseases due to the high risk of survival of overwintering parasites on pasture, leading to high
levels of internal parasitic infections in the following spring/summer. Livestock benefit from
the absence of severe cold by not requiring early housing. It is more difficult to manage the
nutrition of ewes in the run-up to lambing when they are not housed but are left out at
pasture.

S4: Drought 
The drought begins in the previous winter and continues throughout the summer months.
Weather fronts are weak and give meagre amounts of rain, mostly on western facing hills.
High pressure dominates and in summer, temperatures average +3σ of the 1951-1980
baseline, constituting a hot, but not extremely hot, summer period. The drought extends to
all parts of England particularly across southern England.

Mean summer temperatures for the East, East and West Midlands, South East and South
West are 17.7⁰C. Mean maximum daily summer temperatures are 23ºC, 1ºC hotter than the
1976 summer, the hottest summer to date. (See Scenario 7 for discussion on likely high
temperatures).

In 1995, the summer precipitation in England was around 70mm and this figure is used for
this scenario. Drought was severe in August with 10-25% of normal range, with large part of
central southern England receiving less than 5mm24.

Impacts 
Access to water is a problem in many locations in the South East, East Midlands and East of
England where water demand is high, restrictions are enforced during the summer, and
farmers lack water storage and management such as reservoirs. The West Midlands are
particularly badly affected because of a lack of water infrastructure. As a result budding in
many crops is reduced and yields of cereals, potatoes, sugar beet and horticultural crops
suffer. The drought affects crops throughout the growth cycle. A lack of water results in soil
capping and baking, leading to reduced water infiltration when it does rain.

Livestock farmers have to import feed as pastures for sheep and cattle become parched.
Increased costs are experienced in providing additional water for outdoor poultry and pigs.
Farmers may decide to house outdoor animals to improve access to water and feed and risk
losing free-range status. Drinking and hose down water for livestock is severely limited.

S5: Seasonal Dislocation 
Analogues: Autumn/Winter 2010, January 1916, Spring Summer 1912 or 2012. Mean
maximum temperatures are 0°C or below for long periods early in the winter (from November
through December-January).

Rainfall remains average for the time of year but falls predominantly as snow and hail. The
whole of England is affected by the cold temperatures with significant snowfalls. The
weather pattern changes in January with strong south westerly winds leading to rapid thaws
and localised flooding; mean temperatures are 7°C (6.9°C in January 1916).

This is followed by wet weather in February (150% of the mean) and then spring is early with
a warm dry March: March mean temperatures are 9.6°C (Mean+3σ baseline). However, as
spring progresses, low pressure dominates, with depressions taking a more southerly track
bringing cool wet conditions. Rainfall amounts exceed 200% above the mean for the East,

24
http://www.ceh.ac.uk/data/nrfa/nhmp/monthly_hs.html

70
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

South East and South West for the period from June-August. Although temperatures remain
around average for the time of year light levels remain consistently low because of long
periods of cloud cover. This multi-event scenario is less focused on the absolute extreme
values than the dislocation of the seasons. It is plausible because a wide mixture of weather
patterns were experienced in 1947 which had a severe winter, (which only become severe in
February), followed by gales and a rapid thaw (and national scale flooding), with high
temperatures in the summer.

Certain months from the above will fit the scenario and the suggested ones are all reported
to be severe in their extent, early winter, a very dry and warm January and a dry period in
spring before persistent heavy rainfall towards June accompanied by extreme daily amounts
during the summer, as occurred in 1912 in much of eastern and southern and south western
England.

This scenario is just one example of what could happen and there are likely to be multiple
versions where seasonal shifts impact on agriculture because our crops and livestock
systems are adapted to expected climate signals at certain times of the year. Other
examples could include torrential rain just as fruit trees come into flower, destroying the
potential for fruit production, or a frost during flowering, or overcast and wet days during grain
harvest for cereals.

Impacts  
The impacts of such a pattern starts with the early onset of a severe winter in November, as
livestock farmers lose some sheep in snow. There may be heavy losses of lambs in the early
lambing flocks. Cleansing and disinfection of markets and livestock transport is seriously
disrupted by the cold weather, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks. Harvesting of some
crops and winter sowing of other crops is hampered, with additional problems of drying to the
required moisture content for storage. Some crops, such as milling wheat, suffer a decrease
in grain quality. The severe early winter has an impact on vegetable production too. Most
winter vegetables are UK produced, e.g. carrots, brassicas (broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower),
parsnips, onions, leeks, etc. They are planted to be harvested throughout the year as needed
and they overwinter in the fields. A harsh early winter means that farmers cannot meet their
contracted requirements for vegetables for retailers. This leads to additional costs for
harvesting (if possible) and to the import of replacement crops.

Displacement of wild birds arriving for the migration season increases their contact with
outdoor poultry and therefore increases the risk of disease transmission (avian influenza,
Newcastle disease) of notifiable diseases. Water supply for outdoor pigs is made difficult by
the extreme freezing weather as pipes freeze and water has to be carried by tankers, with a
number of negative consequences (e.g. soil compaction, increased labour and fuel costs and
potentially adverse effects on animal welfare).

With the warm weather in January, crop growth resumes but is checked by the dry conditions
in March and the flowering season is disrupted by the cool wet weather later in spring. Heavy
rainfall during the summer affects pasture land with livestock production (milk yields and
growth rates) reduced, disease outbreaks, or production and reproductive diseases
associated with poor forage and housing. There is an impact on seasonal breeders when the
summer is prolonged and they may need to change markets. Flooded fields remain
waterlogged right through until the next spring and gleying (when iron is concentrated within
a thin horizon of soil) of some agricultural soils occurs due to the persistence of floodwater
leading to anaerobic soil conditions. This results in spring cultivation being much later and
more winter feed required for housed livestock as they are turned out to pasture late.

Seasonal dislocation leads to pollinators being out of sync with crops. Late spring rains
prevent pollinators from flying and damages blossom reducing pollination of crops.

71
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

S6: Wet winter followed by hot summer plus summer Atlantic storm 
The winter is wet and rainfall is widespread and prolonged throughout winter and spring.
Rainfall amounts exceed 200% above the average across England with a winter mean over
360mm. Temperatures remain average for the time of year in the range of 10-13⁰C over the
two regions. The increased rainfall leads to widespread flooding, waterlogged soils and soil
erosion.

By late spring a dramatic change takes place as high pressure dominates bringing in hot dry
air from the European mainland and this, together with temperatures consistently above
30⁰C for three weeks across much of England, leads to a summer drought. The mean
summer daily maximum reaches 17.7⁰C. As harvesting gets under way at the end of August,
an unusually vigorous depression tracks in from the Atlantic and intensifies very rapidly as it
moves north-eastwards from Cornwall across central England bringing the strongest winds
to the South East. Because the low is so intense, winds reach 90-100mph and cause serious
damage; gales are accompanied by heavy rain and successive depressions follow, bringing
wet and windy conditions from the end of August into September.

Impacts 
The wet winter leads to difficulties in getting farm machinery on the land for spring sowing,
and autumn sown crops are in need of re-sowing because of water logging. Rain is intense
enough to cause surface wash off of exposed soils in fields, with the associated loss of
seeds and germinating seedlings. As spring progresses the hotter weather causes an initial
spurt in growth but as summer continues water shortages begin to affect yields. The high
temperatures also affect growth; the subsequent severe gales and rain flatten many ripening
crops across a wide swathe of South East England. Straw cannot be collected leading to
shortages and forage crops for livestock are severely affected.

Livestock turn out on to pasture is significantly delayed because of the wet winter. The hot
summer leads to an increased risk of heat stroke in poultry and pigs and the animals need to
be housed. Outdoor pigs are at risk of severe heat stress with sunburn, reduced sperm
production and summer infertility. Dairy parlours need additional ventilation; housing and
sheds need temperature control to avoid welfare issues. In high winds, outdoor poultry can
be blown away and therefore need additional shelter.

S7: Drought with extremely high summer temperatures 
This year follows the pattern of 1975-76 with a prolonged drought forming the backdrop to
the year, with an intensification of water stress in early August. For the South East mean
rainfall is 57.3mm for the spring and 63.3mm for the summer. In a similar way to August
2003, a plume of very hot air with a long land track moves north from North Africa, across
Spain and France, and inland areas of the South East and East of England experience
record temperatures. The mean summer temperature reaches 19.3⁰C as widespread
locations across the South East record over 40⁰C over 8 days. Some areas near the coasts
escape the worst of the heat as sea breezes moderate the heat.

Summers that fall within the ‘extremely hot’ range of +5 standard deviations (5σ) above the
1981-2010 mean become increasingly common (more than 1 in every 10 years). Both crops
and livestock are subject to significant heat stress. In terms of prolonged heat, the three
hottest summers with highest mean daily maximum temperatures for England for all summer
(June to August) are given below:
Year ⁰C
1976 17.6
2006 17.5
2003 17.4

72
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

By the 2050s the variations in terms of standard deviation are listed below:
Statistic ⁰C
Mean 15.2
Mean+3σ 17.7
Mean+5σ 19.3

Therefore, whilst a Mean+3σ summer will be 0.1⁰C warmer than 1976, a 5σ summer will be
1.7⁰C warmer25.

Whilst the mean of daily maxima for a year like 1976 is 22-23⁰C, the absolute maxima would
be considerably higher.

During the long hot summer of 1976, temperatures exceeded 32°C (90 °F), somewhere in the UK, on 
15 consecutive days starting on 23 June. In 2003, 32°C was exceeded in three consecutive days 
between 4 and 6 August and then on five consecutive days between 8 and 12 August, somewhere in 
the UK (temperatures failed to reach 32°C at any of the real‐time stations on 7 August). 

Met Office 201226

Absolute maximum
temperatures: 10 August 2003.
Temperatures exceeded 38⁰C in
Kent, though northern Britain was
cooling as a cold front brought an
end to the heat wave.

Source: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/interesting/aug03maxtemps.html

Figure 9: Absolute Daily Maximum Temperatures: Heat Wave of August 2003

25
Source: Original data taken from Met Office dataset summaries. http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/datasets
26
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/interesting/aug03maxtemps.html

73
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

The UK Climate Projections Extreme Atlas27 shows large areas of southern England
experiencing 28-31°C for a 7 day period for a 1 in 40 year event. (see Figure 10). If warming
by the 2050s were to be in the order of 5σ above the mean summer temperature, this would
be around 3.7°C warmer than the baseline used for the UK Climate Projections Extreme
Atlas. Temperatures would therefore range 32-35ºC for a 7 day period for a similar 1 in 40
year heat event. In some locations it is likely that 40°C would be reached for a day, as it was
over 38°C in 2003.

Source: UK Climate Projections Extremes Atlas.

Figure 10: Summer Heatwaves Daytime Maximum ºC: baseline for 1960-2004

Impacts 
The heat wave particularly affects the South East and East of England. Cereals are affected
with lower moisture content and grain has to be cooled once harvested. As irrigation is
restricted over much of the East and South East of England there are large drops in the
yields of vegetables, root crops and cereals.

Livestock farmers report livestock (sheep, cattle, pigs, poultry, etc) suffering heat stress from
the excessively high temperatures, losses are reported in milk yields and additional costs of
importing feeds both during the summer and in the following winter (due to poor forage crop
harvests) have to be met by farmers. Import costs are high due to heat waves affecting the
North American Great Plains concurrently. Housed poultry can succumb to heat stroke very
rapidly and sheds need to be ventilated. Additional costs are associated with housing pigs to
avoid sunburn and heat stroke. High temperatures lead to infertility problems with breeding

27
http://ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk/22578

74
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

males in a range of livestock species. There are increased costs for ventilating and cooling
housing and transport where serious welfare issues can arise in hot weather.

S8: Mild dry winter, severe late spring frosts 
After a mild winter dry winter across the West Midlands with mean rainfall of 78mm and
mean temperatures of 7.1⁰C28, and where spring growth has advanced, late spring frosts
occur in April when mean temperatures fall below 0⁰C for a period of 6 days.

Such a pattern of weather occurred in 1990, when there were 6 days of air frost in April.
Significantly 1990 had the second least number of frosts for the period 1961-201229, thus
demonstrating how even during a mild year late frosts can occur.

In general, the trend for warmer springs and severe late frosts has seen a steady decline by
the 2050s, making this a surprise event.

Impacts 
The late timing of the frost poses particular problems for spring sown crops and in particular
fruit trees. The late frosts are localised in areas which are vulnerable, such as frost hollows
and sandy soils, so not all farms are affected.

Slow growing grass means livestock turned out too early will need additional feed to
compensate for the lack of forage. This means turnout times for sheep may need to change.

28
Temperature data for all Midlands area defined by Met. Office from
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/datasets
29
Data from http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/datasets

75
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Appendix 4: Impact of extreme weather on agriculture by sector


The results of the expert elicitation, in terms of how the extreme weather scenarios might
impact on key agricultural sectors is summarised in tables 14 to 19 below. These highlight
the overall negative direction of impacts but also the many conditions which affect the degree
of impact. The analysis highlights the degree of uncertainty in terms of quantifying both the
spatial coverage and extent of extreme weather events.

1. Impact of Extreme Weather Scenarios on Arable Sector  
Arable sector adaptations are more limited than in the horticultural sector due to a reliance
on relatively lower commodity prices. Thus adaptations that may reduce extreme weather
losses such as irrigation may not be financially viable, unless also growing higher value
crops. Potatoes are one of the most vulnerable arable crops to extreme weather situations,
particularly under wet conditions and losses experienced can be some of the biggest of any
sector (>50%) due to disease (blight) and difficulties harvesting. Arable field operation and
drying costs can be one of the most significant extreme weather impacts. Most disease and
pest issues can be managed.
Table 14: Arable sector impacts by scenario

SCENARIO 1 (Summer Flooding)


Potential Impacts Implication (Driven by Impacts) Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Reductions in cereal yield (up to 40%) Industry-wide fall in yields of potato Upgrading field Cost – drainage is
as flooding will inundate crop, smother will be reflected in increased prices drainage generally not cost-
roots, stifle growth, and make the crop but not reflected in crops contracted Moving operations effective in most
un-harvestable in many cases due to for processing (crisping/chipping) location years
lodging, wet straw and contamination
from soil etc
Potatoes worst affected (if roots wet for
>12 hrs, will rot) – up to 50% yield loss
Reductions in cereal quality e.g. Price impact Avoid planting on Land availability,
mycotoxins, milling quality etc where flood plain or other attitude to risk
the crop can be salvaged. at risk sites
Extended harvest period (50% longer Increased harvesting costs – fuel,
to harvest potatoes) or even salvaging labour and machinery costs
if crop is un-harvestable. Higher drying costs (10-30% higher)
Delayed planting of next crop Implications for the next crop, planted Farmers may not
later, focus on spring rather than plant the next year
winter cereals (10-15%)
SCENARIO 2 (Two Wet Autumn/Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Difficulties planting winter cereals and Reduced winter drilling and switch to Temporary switch Potential increase in
winter OSR spring crops that are lower yielding. to more spring price of spring seed
cropping due to increased
demand leading to
increase in fallow
land
Increase in slug activity Increase in spend on slug pellets, Drill earlier, switch Earlier drilling
failed crops and patchy establishment to spring cropping dependent on
that will reduce overall yields and conditions and can
increase costs. lead to other
problems such as
lodging
Harvesting issues for potatoes, Yield loss and (partial) price response Potato growers Uncertainty of
impacted by wet as in S1 stop growing on weather patterns
contracts if see
repeated issues
with harvesting
Storage losses for potatoes and beet
yields harvested in wet conditions
SCENARIO 3 (Mild Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation

76
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Good autumn planting conditions and Early growth will increase lodging risk
early establishment of crops if not managed appropriately.
Winter crops establish well but at risk Winter wheat crops could be sprayed Increasing Minimal
of increased disease pressure in the autumn for Yellow rust and pesticide use
especially mildew and yellow rust on mildew (+£25-35/ha).
susceptible varieties. Multiple aphicide treatments to
prevent BYDV if the mild weather
Aphid migration likely to be extended continues (cost £8.50/ha per spray
with increased risks for BYDV plus application)
Advanced crop growth and high tiller No issue where managed with growth Increased use of None
numbers could increase lodging risk regulators, and summer weather fine. growth regulators
In some situations lodging could be a
problem with losses of up to 50% on
the worst affected areas
Higher cereal yields (if disease -
controlled)
Potatoes and sugar beet less affected -
delayed beet harvest with increased
growing period higher yields
SCENARIO 4 (Drought)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Potential cereal yield reductions of 25- Loss of income and difficult Irrigation – through Significant costs.
50% on lightest soils depending on management decisions which might abstraction 10-15% of potatoes
timing of drought. Could be 100% yield lead to lower inputs. licences or farm growers with existing
loss in spring crops where drought reservoirs equipment would
prevents crop establishment. Spring consider irrigating
crops may have higher yield loss due cereals
to smaller root zone and capacity to Possible planning
exploit available water. permission issues
Grain yield quality drop Price impacts

SCENARIO 5 (Early Winter: then mild; warm dry early spring; cold wet summer)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Slow winter crop growth and Winter crops: some management Early drilling Knowing that it was
development but no longer term effect problems due to winter and spring but Irrigation for spring going to be a cold
on winter crops – but yields reduced main yield impact from the wet crop establishment winter or dry spring in
by cold wet summer due to lack of summer. advance
sunlight – by up to 20%.
Spring crops could have reduced Spring crops: potentially more serious
establishment due to dry conditions – yield impacts due to poor
yields reduced by cold wet summer establishment and wet summer
Increased disease in the summer due Biggest impact will be from disease Bigger/faster Cost/investment
to wet so increased use of fungicides. machines planning

Timing of crop protection Some yield impacts if timing of


operations are affected but overall
small impact
Harvesting Wet harvest will result in increased More efficient grain
drying costs drying

SCENARIO 6 ( Wet winter followed by hot summer plus storm)


Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Assuming a normal drilling window Potentially an increase in slug control Investment in low Costs
most winter crops will be well costs. Impacts from delays in pressure tyres
established and can cope with wet applying crop protection could be Increase
winter – although there may be an slight yield losses especially if aphids machinery capacity
increase in pests such as slugs. There or black-grass are not controlled. to cover wider area
may be difficulties in applying crop Most weeds can be controlled in the when conditions
protection products if soils remain wet. spring. May be more of a problem in are fine
field beans where there are few post-
emergence options.
Hot summer should be advantageous Depends on the timing and duration Variety selection
to most crops unless it is accompanied of the hot weather. Positive side is
by drought conditions. If temperatures reduction in wet weather diseases
are very high for a long period and such as Septoria in cereals and blight
especially if overnight temperatures in potatoes, but it could increase
stay high, water loss can be a problem incidence of others such as brown
and affect crop growth which will rust in cereals.

77
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

reduce yields.
Higher levels of sunshine will help
drive yields up in all crops (in
absence of drought stress).
Summer storms are usually localised Summer storms can cause up to Insurance for some Cost
and can cause major damage 100% losses in oilseed rape crops if events such as
depending on the timing such as pod they hit the crop close to harvest. hailstorm damage
shedding in oilseed rape, lodging in Lodging can cause up to 50% yield is available.
cereals and leaf damage to potatoes losses in affected areas if it occurs
and sugar beet. In addition there could early in the season (June). Any
be soil erosion and crop damage from reduction in canopy will reduce the
flooding and consequent difficulties in photosynthetic capacity of a plant that
harvesting. Potatoes in particular may will reduce yield potential.
be affected by washing down of ridges Green potatoes need to be graded
and exposure of potatoes to light which out which will reduce saleable yield.
turns them green.
SCENARIO 7 (Drought with Extreme High Summer Temperatures)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Yields of all crops likely to be affected Yields could be affected by 25-50%, Irrigation Economics for
unless irrigated. Crops on light land will with higher losses on lighter soils. cereals and oilseeds
be more severely affected than on Increase in sunlight could increase are not supportive.
heavier soil types. Shallow rooting yields, but high temperatures will Plastic lined farm
spring sown crops likely to be more increase evapotranspiration and reservoir could cost
affected than winter crops. cause crop wilting at peak £450,000-£500,000
temperature that reduces efficiency of Planning permission
crop and affect yields. All crops can be an issue plus
affected. application costs
Harvesting costs Reduction in grain drying costs
Reduction in wet weather diseases Small reduction in fungicide costs
such as blight on potatoes, and likely
Septoria in wheat.
SCENARIO 8 ( Mild dry winter, severe late spring frosts)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Biggest impact if potato crop is planted Yield impacts Delayed planting of Invest in fleece. Need
and emerged when frost occurs then potatoes where to be convinced that
defoliated and have to send out shoots high risk would see a return on
again – greater impact on established investment,
crops. particularly for fleece
Winter oilseed rape may be flowering
and setting pods and frost may cause
some abortion.
Limited impact on other crops unless
frosts coincide with pesticide
applications that can make them
sensitive to frost. In winter cereals frost
may affect development of ear.
Mild winter leads to an increase in pest Increased costs for Select resistant
and disease issues fungicides/pesticides from increased varieties
autumn use
Frosts on established beet plant can Yield impacts and seed return for Later sowing but
trigger the crop to bolt and run to seed future years this could also
rather than produce a beet reduce yields

2. Impact of Extreme Weather Scenarios on Horticulture Sector  
Horticulture is one of the most challenging sectors to quantify impacts for given the diversity
of both fruit and vegetable crops and the year to year variability already experienced due to
their sensitivity to weather. However given the crops are of higher value than arable crops
more adaptations, such as tunnelling and irrigation are already in place and willingness to
adapt to prevent losses of high value crops is high. Adaptations already in place provide
some degree of resilience to extreme weather events, although adaptations may need
upgrading to cope with increased severity of events. Pest and disease implications are
greater for the horticulture sector than other sectors, particularly given the range of pests and
diseases which can impact upon horticultural crops. Given the importance of prior adaptation
and preparation for the horticulture industry, sequences of extreme events such as in
Scenario 5 could represent some of the most damaging impacts.

78
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 15: Horticulture sector impacts by scenario

SCENARIO 1 (Summer Flooding)


Potential Impacts Implication (Driven by Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Impacts)
Vegetables drilled and transplanted If can’t access fields then will For vegetable crops if If moving land there will
for winter cropping are set back or use tractor less. growers are renting land be some geographic
killed by swamping. Winter supplies Labour for harvesting most could look to move limitations in terms of
of brassicas and onions greatly vegetable crops would distance from packing
reduced. Carrots and parsnips tend increase facilities etc
to be grown on free draining sands Increased cost for drying bulb
and will be less affected. onions, increased cost (fuel)
for harvesting root crops
Increase in land rental and
cost of restoring rutted fields
in subsequent years
Flooding will cause crop loss Worse in the west as Improving drainage Drainage limited by
through waterlogged parts of field, generally wetter cost (piped drainage
usually tractor wheelings and cost in the region of
reduced growth due to low sunshine £1730 to £2275 /ha to
levels. ditches already
present); in areas
where drainage hasn’t
been improved for
many years could be
more costly
Outdoor non-tunnelled soft fruit will Some crops will be totally Crop tunnelling for the Finance, but producer
have high levels of berry rotting lost; however the surviving higher value crops groups have greatly
which makes picking slow and areas will benefit from higher (improves Class 1 yield and assisted investment in
expensive. prices. guarantees supply of tunnels.
Main impact is on delayed English fruit to the Tunnelling is limited by
plant establishment and loss supermarkets.) return on investment so
of growing season. In 2012 Without tunnels there would only used on high value
there was an overall loss of be high levels of imports. crops
yield about 15% of normal For vegetable crops would
only look at tunnelling for
the high value crops such
as green beans and
asparagus
Higher humidity within the tunnels Leaf spot on outdoor currants The main problem would be
will increase leaf and berry diseases will need a more intensive the establishment of crops
spray programme. Similarly, (vegetables)
apples will need more scab
sprays and winter in store
rots are likely to increase
Soil borne diseases such as
phytophthoras on soft fruit
and apples will spread rapidly
plantations will be irreversibly
infected and their productive
life shortened. Reliance on
(mostly) root absorbed
fungicides becomes more
important
Market demand for summer fruits
will slightly decline. High rainfall will
increase soil erosion as polytunnels
increase the flow rate off a field.

SCENARIO 2 (Two Wet Autumn/Winters)


Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Harvesting of winter roots, e.g. Damaged soil structure can Improved drainage of site Grants used to be
carrots, parsnips and swede will take several years to get (expensive) available but are no
increase damage to soil structure back to the original state. longer, reintroduction of
2 to 5 % increase in cost of grants could help
harvesting and restoring soils
Winter leaf brassicas (cabbage Fungicides will need to be
cauliflower and sprouts) will suffer increased
increased leaf spotting diseases.
Vegetables would see a drop in Planting top fruit and soft Finance is more of a
quality rather than yield so much, fruit on raised soil beds or barrier to vegetables as
might get around a 5% drop in total completely isolated have less high value
Winter roots would be one of the substrate (compost) grown crops
worst impacted in vegetable sector crops.

79
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Soil grown soft fruit crops that are Geographic difference; sands Irrigation availability to aid High winter rainfall is
infected with the water spread in the East would recover root zone recovery of very reassuring for
phytophthora group of diseases are quicker (lots of winter roots, damaged but healthy roots those with reservoirs
likely to suffer greater crop losses get lots of roots damaged) of perennial crops, e.g.
raspberries.
Crop planting operations of top fruit Implications would depend on
(e.g. apples, plums and cherries) will whether retailers relaxed their
be slower rules to allow produce of a
lower quality than usual to be
accepted (as has happened
previously)
Soil erosion, plus possible pesticide Harvesting field vegetables is Grass strips along lower Few barriers, these are
and nutrient surface run off will just harder work in wet soil field boundaries by all affordable measures
increase from all crops, more so and there is loss due to soil watercourses will reduce for high value crops
when associated with plastic ground contamination, some extra run off risk. They are well and are already widely
cover. Soil erosion is always disease and excessive understood. implemented.
greatest in winter wheelings
Slugs thrive in wet mild winters, few Crop loss or damage. More
crops escape damage. Activity being sprays.
greatest in autumn and spring

Wet winters can cause root death by Increase in rent 5 to 10% per
suffocation. The crop can suffer if year, ultimately may run out
the following season is consistently of suitable soil
dry and irrigation is not available

Most crops grown in summer would


not be affected, harvesting of over
wintered crops would be more
difficult so yield of
carrot/parsnip/brassicas would be
reduced by around 2 to 5%
SCENARIO 3 (Mild Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Winter leaf brassicas (cabbage Higher yields form winter None needed None
cauliflower and sprouts) will benefit harvested crops and higher
from less winter losses to freezing than average yield the
and wet. Winter roots, e.g. carrots, following summer for
parsnips and swede will benefit from overwintered crops. However
reliable lifting schedules, as crops this must be balanced against
are not frozen into the ground. the risk of untimely April and
even May frosts that can
destroy fruit blossom and
yield.
Some blackcurrant varieties may All non-irrigated crop yields
suffer less bud beak in spring. will be reduced. Crop
establishment delayed,
reduced or killed.
Substrate crops, especially those on Easier harvesting and less
tabletops will come through winter soil contamination, probably
unharmed and produce heavier less fungal disease.
crops maybe. Spring frosts can
always destroy the flowers and yield
potential.
Over wintering weed seedlings will Increased costs
increase and make reliance on
selective herbicides more important.
Main negative is pests Increased costs
overwintering, increase pesticide
usage, which can be justified if
winter is mild and see a good crop
as will see a good return from
pesticide usage. Aphid, caterpillars
and slug numbers in all over
wintering crops will rise.
This would be the opposite of S2. Mild winters benefit vegetable
So an increase in yield of +2 to 5% production, the work is
of expected vegetable yield generally easier so less
labour required
2% increase for drying
cooling bulb onions and other
short term stores
SCENARIO 4 (Drought)

80
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation


Most crops would be affected, in In practice many high value A large % of horticultural Regulations for
particular salads in principle. Limited crops have access to land is already irrigated to reservoir and borehole
impact or an increase in yield overall irrigation. A drought reduces might be looking at access. Investment
for vegetables since drought the availability of water for upgrading existing irrigation costs of access,
conditions are usually associated irrigation. systems rather than storage and
with strong sunshine, provided water Depends on soils, for implementing new ones distribution.
for irrigation is not restricted. example brassicas are in Plant fruit crops in late
Spring planted and drilled crops of Lincolnshire where the silt is autumn to allow the roots to
all vegetables are at risk of failure not irrigated and the fenland settle and establish a little;
without irrigation. soils have a high water the soil surface also settles.
Spring planted fruit (soft and top holding capacity so would Both improve drought
fruit) can die without irrigation. produce crops without tolerance.
Yields will be reduced through irrigation but with a lower Collecting rainwater off
summer except for irrigated crops. marketable yield – 50% less tunnel roofs and storing for
than normal. Sandy soils irrigation.
would suffer most. Reliable crop scheduling to
Yields could be increased by match supermarket delivery
10% of normal if water is schedules needs irrigated
plenty full but if restricted at crops.
time of plant establishment Producer groups benefit
(spring time) then marketable form the spread of their
yield could be zero. suppliers, those in Scotland
tending to avoid drought.
Increased powdery mildew levels in Increased frequency of
crops. Carrots and Parsnips might powdery mildew sprays.
suffer the most in terms of
vegetables
Berries are warmer on average at
picking and need greater cooling
costs of fruit.
Could get stress related diseases
Heat would increase pests but Probably more insecticides Greater use of bio-control
drought would decrease diseases, for summer pests no increase systems in tunnelled crops,
trade offs. in fungicides due to routine as sprays have their
Western flower thrip (WFT) thrives in application limitations
warm summers and can reduce
yield by 40%, though not affecting
all farms at present.
Mite, thrip and powdery mildew
damage reduce leaf performance or
scar berries, which can make some
crops unsalable.
Mite pest damage of top and soft
fruit crops will increase.
SCENARIO 5 (Early Winter: then mild; warm dry early spring; cold wet summer.)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Overwintered root vegetables will Shortened life of winter- Improved drainage for
not be lifted to schedule as the damaged perennial crops; some sites (main
ground is frozen. Leafy vegetables damaged crops under- adaptation for veg.)
will suffer freezing injury; even lose perform and are best
to drought as cold winds dry the replaced as hand picking
leaves, whilst the ground is frozen. costs are so high.
Leafy brassicas and alliums are Winter freezing damage, Planting on raised beds Farm drainage may be
highly susceptible to water-logging. followed by root loss to poor significantly reduced the impeded by
See S1. Could also lose quite a lot summer drainage will leave damage of winter or neighbouring farms.
of brassicas from a cold winter. crops more vulnerable to summer flooding. Lack of grants to aid
further damage in the situation
following winter. Resistance to changing
the way cultivate
Soft fruit, such as strawberries Summer water-logging is Looking at frost tolerant Time to find right frost
raspberries lose tissue to frost more damaging than winter varieties of crops, available tolerant varieties
damage and may even be killed water-logging on perennial but a case of finding the
outright in some fields. crops as the roots have a right one for site
higher oxygen demand in
higher temperatures.
Spring replanting of
strawberries killed by freezing
damage.

81
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Tree fruit trunks and branches can


crack in extreme cold and a rapid
thaw. Wounds can allow in
diseases, though it is rare to see
orchards being devastated.
Strong winds will flatten large scale Lost tunnels can mean lost Some tunnel manufactures Cost of upgrading
tunnel installations crops as the tunnels are not are looking at strengthening tunnels and the return
replaced adequately and existing tunnel designs for you’d see from
yield is reduced once un- better wind tolerance. upgrading.
tunnelled Visual aspect of tunnels
can create resistance
With this kind of seasonal Geographic variability - would Harder to prepare for
dislocation could get continuity purely depend on where such a string of events
problems of responding to the wrong there was frost. Early severe – more impact.
signals at the wrong times winter, would either affect
bottoms of valleys or tops

Impact as in S1. Main effect would No real increase in vegetable


be on plant growth in a cold wet labour as, wet periods always
summer. 10 to 15% loss of yield. make harvesting harder work.
Low sunshine always reduces yield
of veg.
SCENARIO 6 ( Wet Winter Followed by Hot Summer plus Storm)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Winter damage as described in S2. Mostly physical damage, Depends on losses
fungicides protect very well seen as to worth
against diseases in adaptation
vegetables

Irrigated high value crops will not Storm could impact on Spreading producer group
suffer as S4. Though there will be buildings suppliers across the
the same pest problems. country.
Storm could be disastrous on some Flattened fruit tunnels mean a Prompt removal of tunnel Tunnel roof removal is
farms for late summer tunnel fruit stop to picking. There is no polythene in advance of well understood and
production. There is potentially access. gale warning. practised already
another 50% of the strawberry and Taller Brassicas/sprouts Wind breaks could be put
raspberry crop to harvest at this crops would be most up (1m high windbreak cost
point. impacted, edge of field would about £250/100m, hedge
be worst affected based on hawthorn costs
about the same
£250/270/100m but there
are more substantial wind
breaks around glasshouses
which cost considerably
more). This has been done
for flower growers
Strengthening of runner
bean posts
Frost on spring flowers of top and The levels of damage are Spreading varieties
soft fruit will significantly reduce highly variable. wherever possible to
yield. spread the flowering
season and reduce the
impact of blossom loss to a
short sharp frost.
Root crops and shorter crops would Land rental increased -
be affected Wet winter increases cost of
Temporary damage to crops, mostly harvesting
the salad types and summer
vegetables such as runner beans.
Most crops would recover or be
replanted. There would be an
increased risk from disease.
Probably a 2% loss of yield.
Heat in itself wouldn’t be an issue,
water availability more of an issue

SCENARIO 7 (Drought with Extreme High Summer Temperatures)


Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Irrigated high value crops will not As S4. If adequate water is Investment in winter Upgrading irrigation not
suffer as S4. Though there will be available, few fruit and storage for water going to happen for
the same pest problems. vegetable crops suffer badly - Maintaining adequate water field vegetables as the
no impact or a positive supplies, looking to improve saving in water is small
increase since drought efficiency of water supplies. and cost is high. The

82
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

conditions is usually Upgrade rain guns to drip industry continues to


associated with strong irrigation (used for invest in winter
sunshine. strawberries) abstraction and
Yields could be increased by Some growers of wide row storage. Cost £4k/ha
10% of normal if water is crops (runner beans and and proved impractical
plenty full but if restricted at courgettes) on mains water in carrots for example.
time of plant establishment use drip irrigation.
(spring time) then marketable
yield could be zero.
This is also dependent on soil
type, Lincolnshire silt is not
irrigated and the fenland soils
have a high water holding
capacity so would produce
crops with out irrigation but
with a lower marketable yield
– 50% less than normal
Solarisation (sunburn) of leaves and Solarisation is more a A hot summer is hard
berries can occur, i.e. berries and curiosity than a crop loss to foresee and
leaves are turned white as the phenomenon as only the very infrequent, shading
sunny side is literally cooked in the upper canopy of the crop is covers are not used
sun. affected or the hot spell
passes.
Some everbearer strawberry Thermodormancy does not Temperatures in tunnels Might be more likely to
varieties can stop flowering due to affect all varieties and may are greatly reduced with upgrade infrastructure
'thermodormancy'. reduce yield by 20-30% but venting, an established for high value and
this will not affect all farms. principle on farms already. perennial crops
Thermodormancy wouldn’t be Gangs of staff raise or
as much of an issue for veg. lower the tunnel sides
depending on the weather
forecast.
Mildew, mite and thrip pests as Reduced fungicide use is Additional pest problems in
scenario 4 could be extreme. possible, though acaricides a hot season cannot be
for mites may increase foreseen, but it can be
slightly. prepared for with good
autumn and spring crop
hygiene.
Bio-control strategies are
well suited warmer
summers
Very high temperatures >30 °C will Pollinated crops would be A hot season cannot be
reduce effective pollination. This is impacted, beans and foreseen, in some
commonly seen in tunnelled fruit if peas/legumes would be cases this is to be
not vented impacted welcomed, as
consumers will buy
more salad based and
summer fruit products.
Some key pest predators are Increase in insecticides due
hindered >30 °C, whereas the pests to high temperature favouring
are not. At these temperatures, their development
powdery mildew stops developing.
Berries are warmer on average at Increase in energy costs for
picking and need greater cooling short term storage and hydro-
costs of fruit. coolers
Dry heat will reduce berry rots to
botrytis.
High light levels improve apple skin
colour, favoured by supermarkets

SCENARIO 8 ( Mild Dry Winter, Severe Late Spring Frosts)


Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
A mild winter presents few problems Lowered fruit density in a Early crops are fleeced No barriers, fleecing
as S3. crop row means more anyway so would fleece for already done and has a
expensive picking costs. In longer if saw a spring frost reasonable cost
some cases a field is left Placing fleece over low
unpicked, as the damage is growing strawberries when
so high. frosty nights are forecast.
Spring planted and drilled crops can South coast would be better Frost blasters (tractor
withstand frosts though herbicide as have coastal protection mounted diesel burners)
use needs to be more careful. from sea are driven trough some
Herbicides could damage crops tunnels crops during such
more if are weakened nights, especially for
cherries. Not used for veg.

83
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Crops develop quicker than normal Spreading producer group


in a mild early spring, especially if farms across the country
fleeced and tunnelled. This avoids localised frost
proportion of the crop is always at damage.
greater risk of April and May frosts
are devastating to all soft and top
fruit flowers. A flower may not be
entirely killed but the resulting fruit is
malformed and unsalable.
Newly emerged spawn of raspberry Better weather forecasting
and black berry (which crops the aids farm level decision Some farms are
following year) can be severely making. prepared to pay for
damaged or killed off, though more refined forecast
normally there is sufficient recovery services.
if a healthy crop.
Might lose some brassicas, via leaf Fleece/plastic covers cost
scorch - would still grow but £500/ha including disposal,
impacted. Frost damage to sensitive there are different types of
crops and bolting in Brassicas fleece and plastic covers
and the £500/ha is from the
system used on carrots.
Late frosts could kill summer types Depending on the timing of Could be an increased use
such as courgettes and runner frost some Brassicas may of fleece and plastic crop
beans but most vegetable crops bolt prematurely. 2% loss of covers
would be unaffected. yield.
More overwintering pest, early part
of spring would be a problem (pre-
frost)
Diseases wouldn’t be a problem in
this scenario

3. Impact of Extreme Weather Scenarios on Dairying 
The biggest impact upon the dairying sector from extreme weather is a need to house dairy
cows to avoid the negative consequences of leaving them out (for example loss of animal
condition and consequent impacts on milk yield and animal health). The additional costs
associated with housing for longer periods are significant and include: labour to deal with
slurry, purchased feed and bedding, vet costs and fuel or contract costs to transport silage
and slurry. Continual extreme weather events could result in a year round housing system
which would increase the costs associated with dairying and have consequent impacts on
the viability of the sector and its image with consumers. Indirect impacts, notably on feed
prices are potentially an important issue for this sector, especially for intensive systems.
Table 16: Dairy sector impacts by scenario

SCENARIO 1 ( Summer Flooding)


Potential Impacts Implication (Driven by Adaptations Barriers to
Impacts) Adaptation
Cows require housing to avoid Purchased feed costs will Permanently housing dairy cows Grazing land not
land poaching and sward be 10-15% higher suitable for cutting.
damage. depending on flooding Cost associated with
period. all-year housing –
Additional labour required forage making &
to deal with slurry (5-10%) storage; slurry
storage and
spreading.
Grass production impacted 10-15% decline in land Altering management system to Access to land
productivity in subsequent utilise fields less prone to flooding (limited by farm
year Cow tracks (£42/m) layout)
Cost of reseeding land
damaged by poaching
Less fertiliser used (~15%)
Increased herbicides due
to invasive weeds as a
consequence of land
poaching
Contamination of crops if flooding Spoilage of stored silage
occurs Farmer access to grass
may prevent cutting,

84
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

delayed cutting leads to


poorer quality silage
Difficulty in drying silage 15% more fuel required
Land compaction Forage production impacts Sub-soiling pastures Not visible
in subsequent years
Disruption to grazing and impacts Overall 5-10% impact on
on feed intake and quality milk yield
Fertility impacted (~10%
herd affected)
Additional vet costs from
input on fertility, lameness
and mastitis (~10%)
SCENARIO 2 (Two Wet Autumn/Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Cows require earlier housing Associated costs of longer Housing cows earlier to avoid Costs – feed, forage,
(possibly for 7 months rather housing (15-25% increase impacts of rain on yield bedding, slurry,
than 6) to avoid land poaching in associated labour for labour etc
and sward damage (implications silage and slurry transport)
as in S1) Yields can only be
maintained if additional
feed purchased, cost
implications
Extended grazing farms (~20% Up to 40% loss of grass Cow tracks Cost (£42/m)
dairy farms) most at risk production in subsequent
year if switch to spring
reseeding to compensate
Land compaction Loss of grass yield in Sub-soiling pastures Not visible
subsequent years
Late cut silage impacted. Accounts for less than
10% of overall silage so
less of an issue than
heavy rainfall in summer
Increased fuel costs of
harvesting on poached land
SCENARIO 3 (Mild Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Can use extended autumn and Savings in housing and Extend cow tracks Being flexible
spring grazing feed costs (bought feed, enough to adapt
forage making, slurry when mild winter
handling) occur and managing
grazing
Disease implications likely to be
fairly minimal; positive impacts
from reduced housing (lameness,
mastitis)
SCENARIO 4 (Drought)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Increased reliance on bought Increased feed cost (20- Change to autumn calving Likely to adapt
feed (extensive grazing systems 30%) Change to crops which perform forage over time.
most impacted) Increase in milk yield (10- better in drought (e.g. forage maize,
15%) where greater tap root grass rather than rye grass);
50% drop in fertiliser use the cost of this is likely to be minimal
Reduced silaging costs
Heat stress on cows Higher mortality, lower House cows to provide shade if heat Drought less
conception rates stress is extreme common where dairy
Associated costs of Change in housing design (maybe sector is
housing changing dark roofs to lighter so concentrated (in the
Water intakes increase reflect rather than absorb heat) west)
probably at a significant cost
Improve water supply infrastructure
SCENARIO 5 (Early Winter: then mild; warm dry early spring; cold wet summer)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Cold winter is unlikely to impact Accessibility may also lead 365 day housing system (issues Cost of infrastructure
upon cows directly to issues for milk with slurry storage and other and system
collection during extended additional costs)
snowfall

85
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Early autumn housing of cows Early housing may Need to ensure good tracks
but potentially earlier turnout increase work load and infrastructure to enable the cows to
costs graze all summer and as late into the
Overall input costs may be autumn as possible
broadly similar - higher
feed use in the autumn
offset by lower cost from
early turn out
Low temperatures may affect Wet summer likely to
grazing quality result in poorer grass
utilisation
Disruption to system likely to 5-10% loss of yield
impact on production as not
always planned for.
Wet impacts similar to Scenario 1

SCENARIO 6 ( Wet Winter Followed by Hot Summer plus Storm)


Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Storm after dry period may lead Fences may be taken out Improving infrastructure resilience Recognising which
to runoff (unlikely to influence soil by flowing water; impact areas of farm
structure as no penetration but on buildings - implications infrastructure will be
may be some soil erosion on for infrastructure impacted and need
cropped fields i.e. maize) Wind may damage for upgrading
infrastructure
Early housing needed No significant impact on Improve farm capability to handle Without significant
milk yield or quality winter rainfall to prevent slurry/water negative impacts
Alternative feed sources mixed stores overflowing adaptations are
required unlikely
Additional slurry storage
and handling
Systems reliant on grazing High rainfall can damage -Finding the capital
(extensive and young stock) reseeded fields to upgrade
most impacted infrastructure
(significant costs)
Soil dumped on land leading to Impacts on forage quality
contamination, crops can’t be May not be able to do a
used second cut of forage, third
Flooding may damage some cut delayed
swards and / or increase weed
ingression
SCENARIO 7 (Drought with Extreme High Summer Temperatures)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
10-30% loss of yield Implications are Move to autumn calving system Time taken to
Spring calving herds likely to see dependent on calving change calving
greater impact system; a spring calving pattern and
Impact on milk quality – reduced system might lose 25-30% associated cost
milk fat levels by 5-10%. Protein yield unless additional
levels will drop by a similar feed available.
percentage.
May get little growth in June, July Reduced fertiliser spend Grow alternative crops (maize/fodder Costs probably
August so rely on later cuts 10-15% increase in labour beet) wouldn’t prevent a
(Oct/Nov) due to hauling silage as significant barrier
cows now grazing

Heat stress Conception rates drop by Use of sprinklers to keep cows cool Cost of installing the
up to 20% in hot weather – but need water storage facilities sprinklers and water
If change milking to cooler running costs
time may see an increase
in labour costs
Need ample water Provide cool, clean water and
enough trough space in all paddocks
and at the dairy. Cows may drink
50% of their daily water intake
straight after milking, so sufficient
cool, clean water is needed at the
dairy exit as well as in entry
laneways and yards
Higher mortality. Interaction Provide access to shade throughout Tree growing- need
between temperature and the day. Shade can reduce radiant a long term view,
humidity death occurs where heat load from the environment by takes a long time to
temp is at 38 c+ and 100% up to 50% grow to sufficient to
humidity Could plant trees to provide shade provide shade

86
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

The impact of hot, humid Reproductive performance


conditions on production may be impact would probably
further compounded by its impact only affect 10% of herd if
on fertility (reproductive extreme conditions were
performance reduced above just for a month assuming
26°C) with widespread poor all year round calving
conception and pregnancy rates
SCENARIO 8 ( Mild Dry Winter, Severe Late Spring Frosts)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Early grass growth impacted by If sufficient feed won’t see Use frost tolerant grass (longer term Not seen as a
frost and with decrease in yield yield impacts plan) priority
(first cut down by 10-15%) – this Increased feed costs -
is often compensated for in later modest
cuts.
Impact on cows will be influenced If cows have to be kept in Shifting turnout date Tactical rather than
by whether cows have been longer or brought back Carry larger stocks of forage strategic change
turned out, may be brought back inside there will be most likely
inside associated costs (+5%)
May delay housing in autumn Purchased feed cost
savings (10%)

4. Impact of Extreme Weather Scenarios on Sheep & Cattle Sector  
As with dairying, the need to house cattle to avoid extreme weather scenarios is one of the
biggest negative impacts and can present more of an issue for sheep, particularly upland
sheep given the availability and distance to housing can be limiting. Lowland sheep systems
have more of an opportunity to react to extreme weather scenarios and will likely see fewer
impacts as a consequence. Generally more adaptations may be taken with beef cattle than
sheep given their relative value. Indirect impacts, notably on feed prices are potentially an
important issue for this sector.
Table 17: Cattle and sheep sector impacts by scenario

SCENARIO 1 (Summer Flooding)


Potential Impacts Implication (Driven by Impacts) Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Sheep swept away in rising If flooding occurs may concentrate Providing access to Local factors, if land
waters, affects all livestock but flock on a smaller area of land with higher land to avoid flood next to river if flat and
see the greatest % loss from insufficient grass which may lead to prone areas fertile probably more
sheep as seen of less of a a drop in growth rate of up to 50% willing to look at
priority given their worth (without feed supplementation) switching round sheep
(~£100/head) compared to say and silage areas
beef (~£1000/head)
Impact greatest on growing
animals
Lowland farms more Hay may be wet with consequent
susceptible to flooding, impacts on subsequent winter feed
although upland farmers have period
the risk also Contaminated herbage will be an
issue
Impact on land and forage Feed costs increase typically 10-15%
crops but could be up to 100% in extreme
situation from silage crop
destruction/contamination
Heavy metal contamination could
become an issue
Cattle housed earlier Slurry / FYM spreading could be
restricted
Infrastructure (farm buildings, Loss of livestock in few cases Invest in maintenance /
fences etc) damaged from upgrade of buildings and
flooding and erosion infrastructure
SCENARIO 2 (Two Wet Autumn/Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Pregnancy & lambing difficult Sediment loss will be an issue but Reassessment of viability System change
impacts on subsequent years of sheep on flood prone unlikely – traditional
productivity would be minimal land sector

87
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Land impacts Water quality may become an issue, Building housing if not Farms without housing
impacts of river biology currently have housing unlikely to erect
Pollution may become an issue buildings due to capital
and annual costs;
either tolerate a loss in
yield or change from
sheep farming
Autumn critical for sheep 10-15% decrease in lambing Improve rainwater
condition to ensure good potential due to abortions and re- storage / drainage
lambing absorptions infrastructure to prevent
Ewes lose condition Increased disease risk e.g. liver fluke flooding,

Forage availability becomes an Autumn weather is important for a


issue for finishing lambs significant proportion of finishing
lambs
Abattoirs don’t want contaminated
sheep
Up to 25% of forage crop 10-15% increase in feed costs
unusable to lambs due to being
soiled by flooding
Land poaching Land productivity in later years Reduced stocking density Driven by economics
Animal welfare issues
Cattle housed earlier Slurry / FYM spreading could be
restricted
Difficult to harvest silage / hay Poor forage quality – higher feed
costs or reduced livestock
performance
SCENARIO 3 (Mild Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Good grass growth so can turn Grass grows longer, less purchased None required
out cattle earlier feed (10-15% less)
Less manual labour distributing feed
(10% less)
Suckler cows can be kept out Lower costs – feed, bedding, energy Out-wintering cattle May require some
for longer etc infrastructure
Less need to harvest forage crops
for overwinter feeding (reduced
labour costs)
Possible land poaching if out-winter
Improved animal performance; Improved returns None required
reduced mortality
Potential pest and disease Vet costs for pneumonia etc Ventilation of buildings Awareness of risks
issues but not significant, more and adaptations
significant if housed over mild
winter
SCENARIO 4 (Drought)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Warm, dry conditions mean that Additional purchased feed (amount Greater forage stocks / Tactical rather than
grazed cattle and sheep depends on drought severity) reduced stock numbers strategic
generally do well. Especially so If don’t supplement the loss of feed e.g. sell as stores to Reluctance to reduce
in hill/upland areas as generally there will be performance regions less affected breeding stock
wetter consequences. numbers as seen as
important to business
size/viability
As grass availability decreases Less fertiliser used -
utilisation increases, some Few farmers would supplement feed,
compensation unless critical. Reliance on
compensatory growth, especially in
cattle
Reduced growth rates 15-25%loss of finished weight, not
enough weight loss for mortality
Fire on open moorland/standing Significant impact on access to High risk areas of Not seen as a
crops/hay grazing. moorland already have responsibility of
Damage to infrastructure plans in place. individual farmer
SCENARIO 5 (Early Winter: then mild; warm dry early spring; cold wet summer)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation

88
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Early winter for lowland sheep If don’t compensate with feed get 10- Change lambing
coincides with ewe lambing 15% loss of lambs schedule
requires feed earlier to prevent
lamb losses.

Upland sheep not yet be -Labour costs reduced in dry mild


pregnant, more barren ewes spring, but heavy snow in the early
Might expect 20-25% of ewes winter will cause additional work
not to tup (less (5-10%) if kept
near farmhouse)
Early housing of cattle Affects feed costs Extra manure storage
capacity
Snow/blizzards lead to ewe Start feeding earlier due to snow
losses (higher feed costs, compensated in
spring)
Mild dry spring may reduce Overall this set of conditions will
lamb losses to partially make effective use of forage more
compensate, reduced feed challenging
costs
10-15% impact on livestock The delay in marketing the lamb
growth rates crop will impact on the available
grass for flushing ewes and so
potentially reduce the next years
lamb crop
More herbage fallowing and Finishing period longer (3-5 weeks)
reduced grass growth from Additional silage drying costs from
cloud cover and low summer the wet summer
temperatures Spreading of FYM could become a
problem as the land is wet all winter
and so unable to spread pre arable
crops on lowland farms
Summer flood impacts see S1
(localised flooding, land
poaching etc.)
SCENARIO 6 (Wet Winter Followed by Hot Summer plus Storm)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
See S2 for wet weather Fences may be taken out by flowing Change housing Costs
impacts, high levels of poaching water, implications on infrastructure schedule
(cattle can all be housed so
more impact on sheep)
Reduced intake in wet winter for Reflected in drop in growth rates
grazing livestock Increased disease risk e.g. liver fluke
Cattle housed earlier (increased Increased labour costs from housing
feed costs (10-15%) and (transporting feed and slurry)
housing costs)
Extended grass growth in mild
winter but soiling due to
poaching
See S7 for heat stress impacts
Storms damage buildings, Livestock not housed in summer so Improving infrastructure
trees, fences etc. no losses to withstand storm
Storms Impacts of flash flooding conditions
(loss of sheep as in S1)
Storm after dry period may lead Soil dumped on land during storms
to runoff (unlikely to influence leads to contamination)
soil structure as no penetration
but may cause soil erosion on
non grass fields i.e. maize
crops)
SCENARIO 7 (Drought with Extreme High Summer Temperatures)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Reduced grass growth Water supply may become an issue Irrigate grass where Not practical for most
Upland thinner soils and river as need more water to cope with possible in this sector
gravels worst affected heat Grow more drought
Less fertiliser used resistant crops
20-30% drop in livestock growth Forced to sell mid-drought at a
rate depending on whether feed severely reduced price (40%)
made available

89
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

-Less field work undertaken - no Increasing water storage Cost


reseeding and probably unable to capacity and access
establish cash crop
Heat stress (as S4) Heat stress impacts on final yield, Providing in-field Practicality e.g.
may be 2-3 weeks off their target shelters/shade or some whether the same
finish date (assuming adequate structure for animals to fields are grazed each
forage) hide under. Cheaper year.
Up to 5% loss from mortality options such as
temporary tents which
could be moved around
Fire is a potential issue (as S4)

SCENARIO 8 ( Mild Dry Winter, Severe Late Spring Frosts)


Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to
Adaptation
Mild dry winter would be good Overall impacts would probably be Could alter Traditional sector
for all sheep systems minimal as savings in feed over lambing/calving dates but
winter offset by extra feed costs impacts
requirement in spring
Good winter grass growth but Lower feed costs over winter but
checked in spring may be offset by late frost

Cold frosts wouldn’t be If frosts severe enough might impact


expected to lead to major lamb upon water pipes
mortality providing not wet and
windy
Turn out of cattle delayed but Impacts will probably be localised
final sale weights/quality
probably not reduced
Dry conditions will allow good
access to fields

5. Impact of Extreme Weather Scenarios on Pig Sector  
Currently 42% of the national pig breeding herd is outdoors although only about 10% of
slaughter pigs are finished outside. Outdoor pigs are more impacted by extreme weather
events than indoor pigs. Increased indoor pig housing presents many issues to the pig
industry including: availability of suitable housing, heat stress, animal welfare issues,
increased labour costs, disease impacts and the issue of tail biting due to stress and indoor
housing ventilation systems. As a generally low input system costly adaptations, such as
increasing housing capacity or implementing a cooling system are limited currently. Indirect
impacts, notably on feed prices are potentially a major issue for this sector.
Table 18: Pig sector impacts by scenario

SCENARIO 1 (Summer Flooding)


Potential Impacts Implication (Driven by Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Impacts)
Biggest impact on outdoor pigs Less impact on sandy Straw in reserve to bed up Sufficient years of weather
soil, Northern areas will more event before adapt
struggle more. In East
Yorkshire and East Anglia
reasonable soils so less
impacts
More flies, pigs outdoors become Location important (on Keeping sows on higher Lack of enforcing legislation
wet and susceptible to chest very dry free draining ground to avoid flood risk
infections, harbouring more land, drains quickly and areas
salmonella & microorganisms (not there are less issues)
a major impact). Bio-security
becomes more of an issue, wash
down more.
More skin problems - bacterial and Slight hill is the worst Digging trenches (on Lack of planning when
abrasions cause problems location outdoor pig units, most building paddocks, once
would have a JCB front- wires etc. in hard to
loader already, cost is retrospectively install
minimal just labour costs) drainage (paddocks rebuild

90
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

every 2 years, opportunity


for change)

Bedding becomes damp and Pooling on flat land (don’t Mats to keep sows off the Costs
mouldy, have to re-bed more often last long on light sandy floor (reduce soil erosion)
(50% more). If straw bales are soils) particular issue if
stored outside may have issues drainage is poor
with damage and wastage
Indoor pigs always have water Contamination issues if Putting in buffer strips (again
diverting but diverting water will water runs across land not the cost that would be an
become a major issue into water course. issue, sowing with a certain
seed, cost relatively small)
Could get flooded housing Pig farms tend to locate Bushes/planting trees If renting land will have
particularly if pigs are digging away from rivers which (harder to do) certain limitations
around housing. Damage to land may minimise impacts
by digging and walking if also an
issue, soil erosion
Higher mortality - sows come in May lose an extra piglet Moving huts prior to
wet, piglets getting wet; piglets per litter drop (up to a flooding, if can anticipate
drowning 10% drop)

Indoor pigs see less impact, if Increase storage capacity of


aren’t splitting their slurry and slurry stores (special
rainwater will see an impact of this derogation to spread it may
if overflow becomes a risk be required, starting to divert
rainwater)
SCENARIO 2 (Two Wet Autumn/Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
House pigs South & South West see Storing water Convincing weather will
the most impacts as less continue long enough to be
prepared worth adapting
Pigs crammed inside wet, hot Look at building additional Cost
steamy conditions, more coughing capacity for slurry and water
and possible Pneumonia. Heat storage
stress is also an issue when
crammed inside
If outdoor pigs brought indoors Condition of animals Improve indoor areas for Some farms may look at
insufficient room so may struggle decreases due to space outdoor pigs (Cost: £600/ cheaper ways to house e.g.
to reach the food troughs so get restriction large huts (6 sows)) straw bales with a roof
variation in size depending upon Abandoning pig operations
access to food trough
Typically indoor pigs would use a
lot of outdoor space and only
sleep inside so aren’t prepared to
spend long periods indoors
Stress and loss of condition and
stress related disorders

Increase in salmonella
Drop in yield (could be hard to
determine if via autumn infertility
or via extreme weather)
SCENARIO 3 (Mild Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Mild winter for indoor pigs Feed intake, water intake Maintain/improve ventilation
beneficial, can ventilate well and growth rate and system
consequent yield all could
be reduced by tail biting
Tail biting could become an issue If badly tail bitten reduced Environmental enrichment to Minimal for environmental
as get stressed in climate price for carcasses. reduce stress enrichment / kennels, easy
controlled housing when vents Tail biting can cause Build kennels with straw so to do.
opened whole group to become protected from vent draughts
More flies, possibly an issue stressed and agitated, (additional animal welfare
don’t eat as much. benefits)
0-45% of indoor pigs
could be affected by tail
biting in a mild winter
For outdoor pigs, mild winter
beneficial
SCENARIO 4 (Drought)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation

91
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

For indoor pigs not much of a Trade off between fenders Cost
problem (water readily available) and keeping piglets inside
and reduction in feeding
and allowing outside and
risk losses
For outdoor pigs require a good Upgrading drinkers to
flow rate on drinkers, if this ensure constant supply of
decreases get a decrease in milk water in drought
yield and impact on piglets (small
impact <1%)
Outdoor sows spend more time Without fenders piglets Fenders Trade-offs of fenders vs. no
outside farrowing huts in warm, if outside, piglets can get fenders
there’s a fender (stops pigs badly sunburnt,
coming out), not always available discomfort. Piglets
to give piglets milk, 10% decrease wander off (10% may be
in piglet body weight lost)
SCENARIO 5 (Early Winter: then mild; warm dry early spring; cold wet summer.)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Feed accessibility would be the Might have to feed pigs
biggest issue from snow non-specific feeds to cope
with lack of delivery
Pipes unlikely to freeze indoors Impacts influenced by Changing to larger pipes Cost
but an issue outdoors where pipes whether site exposed to and black pipes (easier to
can freeze preventing water flow wind chill and evaporative thaw out) with strong joints
(one of biggest issues) cooling (don’t pop when freeze)
Increased indoor space for
pigs (or semi-indoors e.g.
veranda area). If housed
permanently would need a
major change to
infrastructure
Sows can wreck drinkers when
frozen and drain entire system

Physically difficult to feed in snow


(increased labour (up to 3 times
more))
Bed up earlier (additional straw Welfare issues if can’t Straw kept in reserve
required with cost implications) house adequately
Severe winter will reduce disease
implications
Mild spring beneficial
Unseasonable and sudden
changes in temperature may
cause tail biting (see S3)
Cold summers cause sows to lose 15% drop in yield during
condition that time (in regard to
piglet yield or finisher
weight)
Wet summer see S1, cold and wet
worse than hot and wet
SCENARIO 6 ( Wet Winter Followed by Hot Summer plus Storm)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Very wet winter impacts outdoor -More indoor pigs -Pig prices being sufficiently
pigs, need to bed up almost daily high to be worth investing in
adaptations
-Driving tractor difficult in such - Hot summer expect a -Cooling systems in indoor -Cost of cooling systems
conditions, soil erosion and 15% drop in milk yield, areas (e.g. refrigerated
feeding up takes longer (additional reduced growth rate in walls)
labour costs) finisher herds up to 40%
drop in growth rate
Spend more time indoors
(microorganisms can spread)

Spreading food into muddy fields


is an issue
Land poaching
Sows that are milking may suffer
with mastitis
Flooding (issues as in S2) Diverting rainwater and
slurry to prevent overflowing

92
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Heat stress, when too hot won’t Housing cooling systems Providing adequate water
eat, 50% drop in growth rate may be insufficient supply
Mortality if extreme heat stress
occurs
Sunburn
Milk yield drops (piglets most
affected)

Storm conditions can damage Contamination issue after Rotating farrowing paddock,
piglets and infrastructure storm if susceptible paddock then
only use it when weather is
good
Plant trees to buffer storm
effect from piglets
SCENARIO 7 (Drought with Extreme High Summer Temperatures)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Outdoor pigs water availability not Sows become agitated, Using larger header tanks to Cost of the tank is the
usually an issue but could be in break drinkers which reduce the likelihood of the barrier – however, farms
extreme cases costs money and time to tank running dry would buy one if they ran
fix out of water for a few years.
Indoor sows/pigs will try to find wet The cost of mending the Top up water using a -Seeing enough hot
areas to cool down – may cause broken drinkers and the bowser from mains – again summers to need to adapt
damage to water drinkers to create cost of the water that has costly in both time and
wallows etc. run down the drains money, probably only used
as emergency.
Feed intake will start to drop as Cost of reduced growth Feeding wet feeds could Costs of adaptation to be
appetite is reduced – so growth rate means pigs will be on mitigate this situation able to use a wet feed
rate will reduce (reduced piglet farm longer costing system
size) money – less throughput
means less revenue per
year on farm
Outdoor sows struggle to cool Moving pigs in hot sun Cooling systems for the
down without extra shade causes heat stress and indoor pigs as practiced on
some pigs may die the continent.
Heat stress Creating shade Legislation for shades to
prevent welfare issues

Outdoor sows without shade will Milk yield will reduce and Extra wallows may be Cost of wages and UK does
suffer sunburn and heat stress the piglets will not grow as necessary – which cost very not like to work unsociable
fast little –just a hole filled with hour
water (labour costs)
SCENARIO 8 ( Mild Dry Winter, Severe Late Spring Frosts)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
For mild winter see S3 Ensure there is plenty straw
to hand to allow for extra in
extended cold spells
In late severe frost outdoor pigs Extra bedding cost Use more straw Cost of straw and
would need to be kept warm availability are limiting
factors
Indoor pigs may struggle with Tail bitten pigs or stressed Not much can be done to New system is costly –
ventilation – closed shut on the pigs have reduced growth mitigate – check ventilation industry is not making
nights with frost but open wide rate and cost the farmer system is working correctly. enough money to do this.
during the day as it warms up – money as he has to Update the system to a Cost of getting an engineer
this can cause stress and separate them and look newer version out.
sometimes tail biting after them.

6. Impact of Extreme Weather Scenarios on Poultry Sector  
Some 95% of broilers and 50% of egg producing chickens are kept indoors; whilst provides
some buffer against extreme weather impacts. For outdoor egg production and chickens
reared outdoors there is greater vulnerability to extreme weather events and whilst there is a
capacity to house them to avoid extreme weather events this then has consequent impacts
on product price if eggs can no longer be sold as free range. For indoor poultry, managing
ventilation and heating systems to maintain temperatures, restrict the spread of diseases and
maintain suitable humidity is the main adaptation to extreme events. Potentially the biggest
impacts for indoor poultry relate to (water and feed) availability and farm access; if water and
feed are limited, this can lead to a significant drop in performance. Farm accessibility is key

93
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

for feed delivery and product export. Indirect impacts, notably on feed prices are also a major
issue.
Table 19: Poultry sector impacts by scenario

SCENARIO 1 (Summer Flooding)


Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Impacts on outside birds which If outside birds need to be With a small poultry farm if Cost would be the biggest
may need to be housed brought inside their eggs there were repeated floods barrier to adaptations,
may no longer be able to be preventing access, they particularly on smaller sites
sold as free range (sold as would most likely pack up
barn eggs instead) cost that operation
implication with a 30% drop
in achievable price
There is the possibility Defra
might make an exception in
classification as they have
for avian flu, to reduce
impacts
Road flooding and blocking No significant costs A large integrated company With repeated flood events
supply of feed would likely by the associated with additional may consider upgrading large poultry operations
biggest impact on indoor birds housing during summer access, if they have likely to adapt if necessary
Feed generally brought by a invested millions in on-farm for their site
UK supplier rather than infrastructure will want to
locally so if flooding is protect this investment
localised less likely to have
an impact
With a transport problem may Lack of feed leads to a
also get stocking density if birds decline in production and
aren’t being taken away health and welfare issues
Stress could reduce output by Welfare issues if stocking
10% for outdoor birds housed densities increase
indoors
SCENARIO 2 (Two Wet Autumn/Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Humidity in poultry housing Costs of management of Ventilation to deal with Where ventilation not fully
humidity impacts probably humidity and prevent utilised due to trying to
<1% increase but this could respiratory disease and save costs require
be significant as poultry consequent loss of education as to the risks of
farms operate tight margins productivity respiratory diseases and
Output may decrease by a how ventilation can reduce
few % these risks
Outdoor birds may need to be Increased stress from
housed housing outdoor birds
indoors
Increased heat required to
maintain temperature
Outdoor birds may trample mud Increased cleaning costs if Free Range Poultry have These adaptations are
into housing mud trampled in (minimal wooden slatted area already taking place,
cost implication) outside to help clean feet indicates barriers to
Bedding may need to be before entering the indoor adapting can and are being
replaced if turned wet and area (won’t eliminate risk overcome
muddy (costs fairly minimal) but will reduce)
SCENARIO 3 (Mild Winters)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Generally would probably see a Around 5-6% of poultry costs
positive impact are from heating so a
decrease in gas cost will not
have a very significant
impact overall but can make
a difference when margins
are tight
The lack of cold temperatures Overwintered pests could Adapting housing to have Housing adaptation is
may lead to more diseases and lead to a 10% reduction in less insulation if continually currently unlikely as would
pests which overwinter rather egg production (not an issue mild winters take many years of
than being wiped out for table chickens) consistently mild winters to
convince of an adaptation
necessity as is a significant
change
SCENARIO 4 (Drought)

94
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation


Temperature unlikely to present Cost implication of a drop in
an issue for poultry output (drop in output would
depend on the amount of
decrease in water and
duration of water shortage)
Drought can have a huge impact Sites with backup water on Backup supply of water (or Cost (around £10,000 for a
site probably have 12 hours increasing capacity of 24 hour supply, unlikely to
supply or less so beyond this backup) have longer than a 24 hour
there is an issue Boreholes supply on-site practically)
A 10% drop in water Boreholes may not work
availability could lead to a during a drought so may
10% drop in performance not be an effective
adaptation
Birds kept indoors need a May need to find a way to Turning water supply on
constant supply of water and get water transported in and off to manage
water shortages lead to a (likely to be at a high cost) availability can create air
significant and rapid drop in For a site with 10 houses locks and consequent
performance and quickly lead to a and 400,000 birds quickly complications
drop in growth rate, animal becomes an issue
welfare issues, dehydration,
disease and mortality
SCENARIO 5 (Early Winter: then mild; warm dry early spring; cold wet summer)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
This combination of events
wouldn’t present any significant
negative impacts
Snowfall could present an issue if
transport was impacted
The mild spring may lead to
humid conditions and ventilation
issues as in S2.
SCENARIO 6 ( Wet Winter Followed by Hot Summer plus Storm)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
A wet winter may lead to a -New stocking density Additional fan capacity Would only take a few
dislocation of feed supplies with regulations (reduced to 38 (adds 5-10% to cost of new years of extreme heat to
the associated health and welfare kg/m2) mean there is less of building. 50/50 split of old occur before a large % of
issues (see S2) an impact than under and new housing. farmers would look to
previous regulations upgrade ventilation
Ventilation issues if humidity Heat stress leads to Retrofitting fans to older When putting up new
around winter significant health, welfare, building for 30,000 birds buildings high probability of
performance and economic would cost in the region of allowing for fan capacity;
impacts. £15-30k (£0.50-£1.00/bird) less likely to retrofit into
older buildings
Hot summers present a problem Heat could affect 60 million Ventilation will significantly Cost
for broilers as stocking density is chicks per week of heat reduce the impacts but not
fairly high event eliminates, as outside
temperature goes up so will
inside
Heat stress Can lead to widespread Misting system could be
mortality implemented

Laying hens, turkey and free Adaptations would prevent


range hens will have less issues significant welfare issues
in these conditions than broiler
chickens
SCENARIO 7 (Drought with Extreme High Summer Temperatures)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
See impacts from drought (S4) Drought has less of an Reducing stocking density Reducing stocking density
and extreme temperatures (S6) impact on hatcheries as would reduce profitability;
eggs have their own water would need to experience
and feed supply, whilst live significant impacts to
birds will be impacted trigger adaptation
The tight timescale on poultry Fast turnover means a short Additional capacity of water -Cost (around £10,000 for
production means production is term extreme event will have storage a 24 hour supply, unlikely
constant and whereas other an impact to have longer than a 24
production systems may be able hour supply practically)
to delay harvesting by a month for
example poultry cannot do this.

95
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Ventilation issues Ventilation systems When putting up new


buildings high probability of
allowing for fan capacity;
less likely to retrofit into
older buildings
SCENARIO 8 ( Mild Dry Winter, Severe Late Spring Frosts)
Potential Impacts Implication Adaptations Barriers to Adaptation
Mild dry winter would not present With poor ventilation can Education on ventilation Drive to save costs may
a problem expect to see an increase in and the need to maintain a lead to not wanting to
chronic disease minimum rate of ventilation ventilate
During spring frost may see an An increase in insulation to Insulation, will want to
increase in fuel costs minimise heating costs know that will see a return
(already seen an increase on investment, hotter
in insulation in the last 20 summers will also lead to
years from 4 inches and drive to insulate as keeps
100ml of fibreglass to buildings cool in summers
double today)
Humidity and a lack of cold winter Red mites can lead to Treating parasites and
to kill of parasites creates a risk of aggression in birds and keeping humidity lower to
red mites which cause increased welfare issues minimise parasite
stress, birds may become Respiratory disease may transmission
anaemic or lead to mortality in occur if ventilation is
extreme cases and will lead to a inadequate (particularly if
performance impact with laying trying to prevent heat losses)
hens.

96
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Appendix 5: Spatial mapping methodology and datasets


A spatial mapping approach is used to identify the geographical extent of an extreme
weather event, according to a given criterion, for example EA Flood Zones (see Figure 11).
This dataset is used in conjunction with land use maps based on Defra Agricultural Census
data (2010). This provides cropping areas and livestock numbers on a 1 km2 grid across
England, with results presented by county, region and or at country level. This dataset allows
agricultural land use in flood zones (or another spatially defined area) to be quantified for the
purposes of scaling up extreme weather impacts using per hectare output and input data for
crop enterprises and per head data for livestock.

These data layers were imported into Esri


ArcGIS as Esri shapefiles, along with
regional boundaries. In order to obtain an
estimate of each crop and livestock type in
the flood zone areas in each region, the
geoprocessing tool, Intersect, was used.

This created individual polygons with


unique attributes (cropping / livestock
information; region and flood zone). The
cropping / livestock data were still the
numbers associated with the whole 1 km2.
Therefore, the areas (km2) of the
intersected polygons were calculated, and
this was used to scale the cropping /
livestock data as a proportion of the
original 1 km2 grid cell.

The crop areas and livestock numbers


were summed by region in Microsoft
Access, in order to give a summary of
agricultural land use in the flood zones.

Figure 11: Illustration of GIS mapping of Defra agricultural


census and EA flood (Zone 3) data

The ADAS 1 km2 cropping dataset is a statistical representation of the June Agricultural
Census data that has undergone a large amount of processing to disaggregate it to a grid.
The issue of disclosivity is therefore not as immediate as it would be for the raw census data.
However there may be some issues of disclosivity for minor crops at a district level. There is
unlikely to be a disclosivity issue when data are presented in tabular form at a regional level
rather than on a map, since exact locations cannot be inferred.

For the avoidance of doubt, outputs displaying cropping areas for minor crops area and
livestock numbers have been combined into more generic categories for the purpose of
publication. For example, census categories A4-A7 (Oats; Mixed Grain; Rye; Triticale) are
combined to form the category ‘Other cereals’ and categories A10 & A11 (Early Potatoes:
Late Potatoes) are combined to form the category ‘Potatoes’. The London region has also
been combined with the South-East region, since there are very small areas of most crops in
London.

97
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Datasets available for spatial mapping

Soil water regime

Soil water regime is defined by six classes of soil wetness based on the duration of wetness
at depths of 40 and 70 cm (Table 20). A wet soil is defined as containing water removable at
a suction of less than 10 mb.
Table 20: Soil wetness classes, defined by duration of wetness at depths of 40 and 70 cm
I Wet within 70 cm depth for fewer than 30 days in most years;

II Wet within 70 cm depth for 30 to 90 days in most years;

III Wet within 70 cm depth for 90 to 180 days in most years;

IV Wet within 70 cm depth for more than 180 days, but not wet within 40
cm depth for more than 180 days in most years;

V Wet within 40 cm depth for more than 180 days and is usually wet
within 70 cm depth for more than 335 days in most years;

VI Wet within 40 cm depth for more than 335 days in most years;

Source: Jobson and Thomasson (1977).

Notes: The number of days specified is not necessarily a continuous period


‘In most years’ is defined as more than 10 out of 20 years

For each 1 km2 grid cell, the Soil Wetness Class (SWC) of the soil series present in the cell
was calculated using the Hydrology of Soil Types (HOST) and profile data provided by the
NSRI National Soils Inventory, using the procedure developed by Hollis (1989).

For the purposes of this project, drought-prone soils were taken to be those in soil wetness
class I and soils susceptible to waterlogging those in soil wetness classes V and VI.

ADAS cropping (ha) and livestock (head) statistics for 2010 at 1km spatial resolution were
multiplied by the proportion of the grid cell that comprised soils that are (i) drought-prone and
(ii) susceptible to waterlogging. This provided an estimate of the area of each crop and the
numbers of each livestock category that were farmed on soils that are (i) drought-prone and
(ii) susceptible to waterlogging. The assumption is made that the proportions of each soil
wetness class are the same on agricultural land in the grid cell as for the entire grid cell.

The resultant agricultural statistics for cropping and livestock on soils that are (i) drought-
prone and (ii) susceptible to waterlogging were summarised by region. Table 21 below
shows the area and distribution of sectors using these datasets. This suggests fairly even
distribution of cropping on drought prone soils at around 30% of all England cropping area
which appears high. For soils prone to waterlogging there is a much smaller cropping area at
around 5% of England area but a relatively higher proportion of grassland at 17%. These
datasets need to be considered further as reliable estimates of drought and waterlogging.

98
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 21: Area of cropping affected by flooding using Soil Wetness Class
Soil Wetness Class I (drought) Soil Wetness Class V & VI
(drought)

Crop area (ha) % of England Crop area (ha) % of England


area area

Cereals 788,297 32% 125,447 5%

Oilseed rape 178,546 30% 25,652 4%

Peas and beans 55,584 28% 8,238 4%

Potatoes 34,860 35% 3,920 4%

Sugar beet 40,109 34% 1,140 1%

Horticultural crops 43,945 30% 5,883 4%

Grass and forage


crops 1,256,942 31% 697,775 17%

99
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Appendix 6: A worked example of economic impacts (Scenario 1)


An example is set out here based on Scenario 1 (Localised Flooding). In order to indicate the
flood plain land naturally affected by flooding (both river and coastal), the Environment
Agency Flood Zones for England were used, namely:
- Flood Zone 3: areas affected by flooding (rivers and coastal), if there were no flood
defences. The area could be flooded from a river flood with a ≥1% chance of happening
each year, or a flood from the sea with a ≥0.5% chance of happening each year.
- Flood Zone 2: areas affected by extreme flooding (rivers and coastal), <0.1% chance of
occurring each year.

Based on the methodology set out in the previous section, data are presented for Scenario 1
at each step below.

Step 1: Define the scenario weather event in terms of meteorological parameters, 
specifying spatial and temporal boundaries. 
The meteorological conditions which are represented in this scenario are:

Country wide summer flooding, resulting from rainfall 200% above the 1981-2010 mean from
June to August, with a 20% increase in rainfall intensity. Temperatures are assumed to be
average for 2050 or slightly cooler. The analogue is 1912.

 
Step 2: Estimate the change in agricultural production parameters associated with the 
scenario for key sectors – enterprise yield, product quality, inputs and resources (soil, 
infrastructure etc) – using expert opinion and/or empirical evidence as available.  
Impact estimates, expressed as percentage change in volume of outputs and inputs have
been drawn from the expert analysis of Scenario 1 (tables 14-19) are summarised in below.
The data highlights the significance of high value crops such as potatoes and horticultural
crops in flood zones and the higher impact on crops relative to livestock. Year two effects on
cereals and horticulture relate to issues of autumn crop establishment in flooded areas.
Table 22: Estimates of output and input change due to Scenario 1 
% yield loss Area/no. of
livestock
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 impacted
Agricultural output per ha/head
Cereals, oilseeds etc -40.0% -20.0% 13%
Potatoes and sugar beet -50.0% 22%
Horticultural crops -50.0% -20.0% 22%
Dairy -5.0%
Other cattle enterprises -10.0% 8-9%
Sheep -15.0% 6%
Pigs -4.0% 12%
Poultry (egg production) -15.0% 13%
Agricultural inputs
Fertiliser (horticulture) -10%
Fertiliser (grassland) -25%
Crop protection (horticulture) -10%
Purchased feed & fodder +10%
Vet and livestock sundries +10%
Machinery fuel and oil +10%
Water, electric and other +10%
Fuel, electric and other fixed costs +10%

100
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Step 3: Calculate the 3­year ‘average’ economic performance for robust farm types (FBS 
data) at farm level. 
Detailed output and input costs for the nine robust farm types in England (Table 24, page
102) are used as a basis to calculate the impact of weather-related change for this country-
wide scenario. For this example the single year data has been used but the methodology
recommends use of 3-year average values to remove single year seasonal and/or price
effects.

Step 4: Use robust farm type data (from Step 3) in combination with estimates of change 
in volume due to extreme weather (from Step 2) to estimate the unit value change in 
output for each crop or livestock type and for each input category. 
The percentage change in output and input has been applied to the unit value of each
category used to calculate unit change in economic value for each output category across all
robust farm types. Data is shown in Table 23 for unit change in enterprise outputs across all
robust farm types for Scenario 1.
Table 23: FBS enterprise output for crops across robust farm types
Lowland
General Grazing LFA Grazing
Cereals cropping Horticulture Mixed Dairy Livestock Livestock Pigs Poultry
Output per ha of each crop Output per head of each livestock type
winter wheat
-£468 -£483 -£556 -£453 -£467 -£483 -£1,341 -£490 -£478
winter barley
-£334 -£309 -£278 -£331 -£349 -£359 -£887 -£459 -£411
spring barley
-£341 -£351 -£212 -£394 -£336 -£310 -£729 -£581 -£309
other cereals
-£238 -£172 -£305 -£205 -£250 -£248 -£521 -£157 -£242
oilseed rape
-£469 -£513 -£516 -£474 -£460 -£519 £0 -£515 -£464
peas and
beans -£260 -£349 -£272 -£249 -£235 -£269 -£220 -£302 -£169
potatoes
-£2,036 -£2,573 -£2,679 -£2,478 -£2,021 £0 £0 -£1,625 £0
sugar beet
-£972 -£973 -£1,078 -£1,021 -£690 £0 £0 -£848 -£765
Other Crops
(incl. hort.) -£319 -£1,513 -£7,754 -£634 -£123 -£1,039 -£1,733 -£408 -£508
Milk and milk
products -£72 -£128 £0 -£101 -£99 -£60 -£66 £0 -£48
dairy cattle
£26 £28 £0 £9 £6 £22 £13 £0 £7
other cattle
-£32 -£37 £0 -£36 -£44 -£34 -£33 -£33 -£30
sheep and
wool -£15 -£16 £0 -£16 -£16 -£16 -£11 -£15 -£13
pigs
-£2 -£3 £0 -£6 -£8 -£2 -£6 -£7 -£2
eggs
-£3 -£3 £0 -£3 -£3 -£4 -£3 -£4 -£2
broilers and
other poultry £0 £0 £0 £0 £0 £0 £0 £0 £0
 

For inputs, a single FBS figure is available for each category e.g. seed for each farm type but
this is not split between individual enterprises as is the case for outputs. As the impacts of
the weather will be discrete for each farm type or, individual estimates of impact are applied
to each enterprise group (Table 25, page 103)

101
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 24: Farm Business Survey (FBS) detailed outputs and inputs (3-year average 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12) 
Detailed Output and Input Costs England - Baseline (3-year av) Lowland Grazing LFA Grazing
http://www.farmbusinesssurvey.co.uk/regional/ Cereals General cropping Horticulture Mixed Dairy Livestock Livestock Pigs Poultry
Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm Per Farm
Farms In Sample 330 176 217 197 324 261 253 70 87
Agricultural output 195,256 351,388 359,723 208,914 356,103 72,953 69,036 474,694 634,230
Crop output (excluding subsidies) 169,462 312,351 350,679 89,013 24,698 11,192 6,301 29,552 17,518
winter wheat 85,293 80,318 7,412 35,146 11,689 2,128 1,051 13,167 8,298
winter barley 8,659 8,803 352 7,638 2,486 1,506 850 3,792 1,762
spring barley 7,581 10,190 387 6,959 1,733 1,361 784 1,970 386
other cereals 5,050 4,363 805 3,552 605 413 286 512 232
oilseed rape 36,087 23,097 735 10,929 2,144 147 103 4,475 2,140
peas and beans 6,008 5,594 161 2,194 278 72 37 801 114
potatoes 529 70,705 4,286 4,609 94 17 4 22 0
sugar beet 4,473 36,617 3,055 1,328 202 0 0 243 1,229
other crops 2,237 57,812 331,867 2,072 11 62 35 539 796
by-products, forage and cultivations (excl. set-aside) 11,781 14,112 2,229 13,554 5,135 5,411 3,118 3,890 2,422
Disposal of previous crops 1,765 740 -610 1,032 319 76 34 141 139
Livestock output (excluding subsidies and payments to agriculture) 9,399 16,600 2,488 108,425 325,351 57,134 59,229 442,430 614,204
milk and milk products 48 937 0 17,106 279,930 956 2,079 0 129
dairy cattle -17 -205 -31 -1,591 -16,867 -359 -396 0 -18
other cattle 5,161 8,650 1,498 39,054 56,595 37,839 31,109 3,145 3,210
sheep and wool 2,715 2,346 569 13,551 3,657 17,214 25,628 1,965 1,489
pigs 627 2,350 39 24,813 1,320 104 306 436,601 784
eggs 705 1,584 43 8,412 700 225 235 821 189,396
broilers and other poultry 148 923 366 6,705 13 67 8 -111 419,221
other livestock (including horses) 12 13 5 375 3 1,088 260 9 -8
Subsidies and payments to agriculture 377 368 40 532 1,376 329 315 48 17

Miscellaneous output (including agrcultural work done on other farms) 16,017 22,069 6,517 10,946 4,678 4,298 3,190 2,664 2,491
Output from Agri-environment activities and other payments 8,292 10,097 1,971 7,087 4,318 5,299 8,671 1,584 1,843
Output from diversification out of agriculture 18,816 14,796 26,204 20,031 7,960 9,035 4,500 6,485 14,180
Output from Single Payment Scheme 42,440 48,397 6,260 33,140 28,690 20,258 21,361 9,063 6,889

Agricultural costs 178,160 320,182 326,483 201,741 321,641 74,673 72,212 435,459 591,964
Variable costs 82,564 150,345 178,677 108,309 190,230 36,652 35,959 299,160 415,365
Crop specific costs 61,864 106,532 136,366 34,586 25,749 6,773 6,271 8,637 5,056
seed 8,748 24,707 62,382 5,879 3,998 956 581 1,385 1,009
fertilizers 26,771 33,233 12,527 15,384 15,200 4,054 4,350 3,299 1,705
crop protection 21,623 29,771 9,189 10,040 3,920 851 494 3,383 1,942
other crop costs 4,721 18,821 52,267 3,283 2,631 912 846 570 400
Livestock specific costs 4,931 8,453 1,198 59,080 142,059 23,955 24,781 278,445 397,871
purchased feed & fodder 2,001 3,638 529 32,725 93,089 11,507 13,295 230,010 354,433
home grown feed & fodder 889 2,132 202 10,767 7,848 2,828 1,613 8,627 1,072
veterinary fees & medicines 450 579 131 3,738 12,479 2,554 3,012 12,873 9,660
other livestock costs 1,590 2,104 337 11,849 28,642 7,066 6,861 26,934 32,706
Contract costs 13,025 21,601 4,981 11,681 18,694 4,809 3,637 9,333 8,832
Casual labour 1,938 12,255 34,827 2,635 3,604 982 1,101 2,744 3,593
Miscellaneous variable costs (including for work done on other farms) 807 1,503 1,305 327 124 132 168 1 13
Fixed costs 95,597 169,837 147,806 93,432 131,411 38,022 36,253 136,298 176,599
Regular labour 10,544 30,279 70,603 14,966 28,216 3,693 2,969 45,339 51,534
Machinery: fuels and oils (a) 9,251 16,278 7,260 8,828 10,281 3,833 3,947 7,898 5,887
Machinery: repairs and other (a) 9,388 18,235 8,956 9,530 12,688 4,197 3,860 11,029 10,197
Machinery depreciation 20,809 30,418 11,883 17,896 22,236 8,136 8,296 14,702 15,655
Depreciation of glasshouses & permanent crops 2 -254 3,662 -20 0 0 0 0 0
General farming costs 18,638 29,404 28,987 18,284 29,289 9,140 8,481 28,334 53,025
Bank charges & professional fees 4,548 5,699 4,933 3,566 5,271 1,954 1,809 3,548 6,853
Water, electricity and other general costs 10,573 18,282 21,079 11,310 18,207 5,694 5,226 17,852 38,763
Share of net interest payments 3,505 5,350 2,877 3,408 5,807 1,481 1,441 6,933 7,408
Write-off of bad debts 12 73 97 0 4 10 5 0 0
Land and property costs 16,952 31,354 14,396 16,991 25,447 6,643 6,841 27,877 38,880
Rent paid 13,522 26,514 10,993 12,480 16,956 5,055 5,306 18,221 14,001
Maintenance, repairs and insurance 547 828 610 402 520 204 211 736 1,036
Depreciation of buildings and works 2,883 4,012 2,793 4,109 7,971 1,384 1,325 8,920 23,842
Miscellaneous fixed costs (including for work done on other farms) 10,014 14,124 2,058 6,956 3,254 2,379 1,858 1,119 1,422
Costs of Agri-environment activities and other payments 1,731 1,923 413 1,187 688 1,200 1,848 269 504
Costs of diversification out of agriculture 7,534 7,147 16,044 12,123 3,827 4,743 2,298 3,886 5,783
Costs of Single Payment Scheme 3,744 4,034 539 3,044 2,259 2,168 2,462 630 530  

102
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 25: Estimates of change in volume of variable and fixed cost categories under Scenario 1
Agricultural inputs Arable crops Horticulture Dairying Cattle & sheep Pigs Poultry
Variable costs
Seed
Fertilizers -10.0% -15.0% -15.0%
Crop protection -10.0%
Other crop costs
Livestock specific costs
Purchased feed & fodder 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0%
Home grown feed & fodder 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0%
Veterinary fees & medicines 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0%
Other livestock costs 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0%
Contract costs 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0% 10.0%
 

Step 5: Define the spatial scale for the area affected by the weather event – 
administrative boundaries (regions, counties) – and overlay with the Defra Census 
dataset to calculate hectares of crop and head of livestock within that area. 
The EA Flood Zone datasets were overlaid with the Defra Census data, mapped at 1km2 to
provide estimates of the area of crops and head of livestock impacted. Two sets of data
were available; Flood Zone 3 was used in this instance.
Table 26: Scale of agricultural enterprises within EA Flood Zones 3 and 2
Flood Zone 3 Flood Zone 2
Agricultural output per ha/head Ha Ha
winter wheat 260,364 288,061
winter barley 31,521 35,731
spring barley 22,587 25,809
other cereals 9,032 10,384
oilseed rape 77,786 86,200
peas and beans 26,971 30,157
potatoes 21,894 24,099
sugar beet 25,691 28,207
Other Crops (incl. hort.) 31,811 34,765
Head Head
dairy cattle 90,649 107,621
other cattle 86,893 100,789
sheep and wool 335,743 389,338
pigs 122,800 138,442
eggs 2,466,635 2,784,906
broilers and other poultry 10,438,286 11,817,711

Step 6: Use cropping and stocking data from (Step 5) to scale up the output for each crop 
or livestock type and for each input category. 
The scale data from Table 26 are then used to scale up the unit change estimates from
Step 4. For scenario 1, enterprise impacts are shown in Table 27 below.

A similar process is applied to inputs to provide a full set of volume-adjusted economic


impacts for the scenario. However, for inputs a broader set of farm types is used (Arable,
Horticulture, Dairy, Grazing livestock, Pigs and Poultry). Aggregated Census data on
hectares and numbers of livestock for each of these categories by region is combined with
% change data for the input categories to provide a weighted estimate of changes inputs.

103
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Table 27: Total impacts of Scenario 1 on farm enterprise output of enterprises within EA Flood Zones 3
Average impact Flood Zone 3 Volume-adjusted Economic Impact
Agricultural output per ha/head (£ per ha) Ha £
winter wheat -£476 162,630 -£77,369,099
winter barley -£346 14,171 -£4,907,080
spring barley -£364 10,277 -£3,744,218
other cereals -£210 3,859 -£809,725
oilseed rape -£485 44,602 -£21,641,974
peas and beans -£286 16,720 -£4,774,623
potatoes -£2,568 16,027 -£41,152,095
sugar beet -£971 23,188 -£22,519,466
Other Crops (incl. hort.) -£4,191 37,843 -£158,609,662
(£ per hd) Head
milk and milk products -£99 19,787 -£1,952,244
dairy cattle £6 19,787 £126,294
other cattle -£37 123,280 -£4,579,620
sheep and wool -£14 89,159 -£1,215,226
pigs -£7 168,105 -£1,120,103
eggs -£2 1,366,844 -£3,250,007
broilers and other poultry £0 6,415,890 £0

Step 7: Adjust for price impacts at UK and global scale. 
Only prices for fresh produce (potatoes and horticultural crops) are expected to be
impacted, with no wider global changes in supply or demand. The scale of price change
allows for the relatively significant proportion of the crops affected but this is limited by the
timing of the flooding. The resulting economic impacts are summarised in Table 28.
Table 28: Weighted change estimated for enterprise output across all robust farm types
Volume-adj Baseline Volume-adj Supply-led Price and Net economic
Economic economic value economic change in volume-adjusted impact of
Impact (FBS 3-year av.) value market price economic value weather event
(a) (b) (b-a) (d) (b-a)x(1+d) (b-a)x(1+d)-b
winter wheat
-£77,369,099 £2,130,736,183 £2,053,367,083 0% £2,053,367,083 -£77,369,099
winter barley
-£4,907,080 £277,245,609 £272,338,529 0% £272,338,529 -£4,907,080
spring barley
-£3,744,218 £241,669,832 £237,925,613 0% £237,925,613 -£3,744,218
other
cereals -£809,725 £1,784,853 £975,127 0% £975,127 -£809,725
oilseed rape
-£21,641,974 £727,289,832 £705,647,858 0% £705,647,858 -£21,641,974
peas and
beans -£4,774,623 £143,467,474 £138,692,851 0% £138,692,851 -£4,774,623
potatoes
-£41,152,095 £512,719,980 £471,567,885 10% £518,724,674 £6,004,694
sugar beet
-£22,519,466 £230,104,910 £207,585,444 0% £207,585,444 -£22,519,466
Other Crops -
(incl. hort.) £158,609,662 £1,910,771,549 £1,752,161,887 5% £1,839,769,981 -£71,001,568
milk & milk
products -£1,952,244 £2,284,020,804 £2,282,068,560 0% £2,282,068,560 -£1,952,244
dairy cattle
£126,294 -£147,756,720 -£147,630,426 0% -£147,630,426 £126,294
other cattle
-£4,579,620 £1,619,486,326 £1,614,906,706 0% £1,614,906,706 -£4,579,620
sheep and
wool -£1,215,226 £644,042,122 £642,826,896 0% £642,826,896 -£1,215,226
pigs
-£1,120,103 £600,433,277 £599,313,173 0% £599,313,173 -£1,120,103
eggs
-£3,250,007 £356,904,383 £353,654,376 0% £353,654,376 -£3,250,007
broilers and
other poultry £0 £769,381,280 £769,381,280 0% £769,381,280 £0

104
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

It can be seen that for potatoes and horticulture, the price effect more than offsets the
volume loss, so the economic method is very sensitive to price change.

Step 8: Aggregate the scaled impacts for each enterprise and cost category to calculate 
total economic impact. 
Summing the output and input changes before and after price adjustment provides an
estimate of the net economic impact of Scenario 1. From Table 29 the figures for year 1 are
£363 million (£820/ha) and £229 million (£516/ha) respectively, the latter reflecting the
positive impact of higher fresh produce prices on the residual production.
Table 29: Volume and price adjusted estimates of net economic impact of Scenario 1 (Year 1)

Volume-adjusted Economic Impact Net economic impact of weather event


Total impact -£363,281,375 -£228,516,492

Area affected (ha) 442,961 442,961

Total impact per ha -£820 -£516

Step 9: Aggregate multiple year impacts. 
The model but considers the impact on volume of outputs and inputs, and on prices over a
three year period to allow for the fact that some weather events come at the end of the year
and others have a residual effect. A simple addition of annual effects is used. Thus,
depending on the ability of land to recover from flooding and delayed harvest, some early
sown cereal crops and oilseeds may be sown late or spring sown. Over the three year
period, the net economic impact of Scenario 1 is estimated at £344 million (£776/ha).

105
A Methodology for Estimating Economic Impacts of Extreme Weather Events on Agriculture

Appendix 7: Defra list of climate change adaptation measures


No. Adaptation measures
1 Support networks to share information and experiences among farmers.
2 Planning to deal with changes and losses including natural disasters such as floods and fires.
3 Industry planning to take advantage of new opportunities.
4 Increased monitoring and of natural and agricultural changes including monitoring and forecasting of pests and
diseases.
5 Replace old crop varieties /livestock breeds with ones better suited to new (e.g. hotter, drier, more saline) conditions or
to take advantage of new opportunities such as hemp, wine, grapes, peaches, cherries.
6 Diversify crops/livestock to hedge bets against unpredictable weather.
7 Plant and animal breeding /selection for new adaptation traits (e.g. drought and pest/disease resistance.
8 New and diversified feed and forage crops.
9 Agro-forestry
10 Sustainable drainage systems (including porous surfaces, infiltration trenches, filter drains, ponds or wetlands, grass
buffers) to slow water flow, increase infiltration into soil and reduce flooding.
11 Restore Natural River Profiles.
12 Maintain/restore/create wetland, ponds and water meadows.
13 Maintain high water tables in peat lands to reduce loss of soil organic matter and block drains in peat.
14 Use land for flood storage
15 Plant trees (including for flood alleviation, shade and shelter, agro-forestry, new habitat), using appropriate tree species
to cope with future conditions.
16 Buffer strips of grass, scrub and/or trees around watercourses and other important habitat areas.
17 Increase water storage (ideally through 'softer' structures such as ponds.
17b Increase water storage – reservoirs.
18 Improve manure storage facilities to cope with wet winters.
19 Precision farming to optimise inputs (to reduce stress on the environment and improve its ability to adapt)
20 Livestock water pumps.
21 Facilities to dry crops.
22 Improve seed and crop storage facilities to deal with changes in moisture and temperature, as well as possible
increases in pests.
23 Reduce water wastage.
24 Reuse water.
25 Collect and store water runoff from buildings.
26 Improve irrigation efficiency.
27 Limit abstraction of water.
28 Measures to avoid soil erosion, compaction and runoff from grazing.
29a Keep livestock off wet soils where there is a risk of flooding.
29b Keep livestock off watercourses
30 Move livestock indoors or to a higher ground during times of flood risk
31 Provide appropriate livestock housing, transport and stocking numbers to maintain animal welfare during hot weather.
32 Provide sufficient shade/shelter for livestock.
33 Establish pasture with a diverse range of plant species that is more resilient to grazing pressure in poor conditions.
34 Provide extra silage when grazing options reduced by bad weather.
35 Measures to reduce erosion, compaction and runoff from arable farming and horticulture.
36 Mulches to conserve water used in cultivating crops.
37 Measures to increase soil organic matter.
38 Alter timing of activities (e.g. planting, harvest, silage cutting) to take advantage of/cope with changed conditions
39 Appropriate tillage to increase soil organic matter and moisture retention.
40 Measures to reduce damage to crops from storms (e.g. shade or hail netting, trees/hedges as shelter belts.
41 Minimise pesticide use e.g. through integrated pest management strategies and timing of crop planting (to reduce stress
on the environment.)
42 Measures to reduce leaching of fertiliser and pesticides including applying chemical inputs at times of lowest risk.

106