One month on and farmers still suffer from the floods

Farmer Brian Franklin at a field in Moorlands Farm in Murcot last week.     Picture: OX66375 Mark Hemsworth

Farmer Brian Franklin at a field in Moorlands Farm in Murcot last week. Picture: OX66375 Mark Hemsworth Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

FARMERS are still suffering from the floods more than a month after the waters subsided.

Cattle farmers say their land is still waterlogged and they have been unable to let their cows out to graze, meaning they have to spend more on feed.

Earlier this year farmers blamed the January and February flood damage on poor management at the Environment Agency and said waterways should have been dredged and looked after more in the past.

Cattle farmer Brian Franklin, of Moorlands Farm in Murcot near Kidlington, said he had to sell 40 cows last month as he could no longer afford to feed them without grass.

He said: “The ground has to dry. You cannot pull the plug out and use it the next day.”

Mr Franklin, 68, said he now has 90 left and would not make as much money when it came to sell them.

Oxford Mail:

The same flooded field in February.

He said: “We don’t want to sell any more if we can help it. We will be lucky to break even this year.”

Prime Minister David Cameron announced the £10m Farming Recovery Fund on a visit to a flooded Bampton farm in February. But county farmers said it was not enough and the conditions for bids were too restrictive. Terry Moore, of Otmoor Farm in Horton-cum-Studley, said his cattle were still being kept inside and were unlikely to be turned out soon.

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He said: “The flood water has all gone away now but unfortunately there is still a lot of standing water on the field at the moment.

“We need a lot of sunshine and water to dry it up. It is a big mess.”

He said he had sold 12 cows last month and now had 50 left. He said usually at this point in the year he could have three times that out on his land. And he also said he would be lucky not to make a loss this year.

He called on the Environment Agency to do more to prevent flooding, adding: “Until they clear out a lot of those rivers going through Oxford our water is still not going to flow through.”

Wytham crop, sheep and cattle farmer Mike Gooding said 450 acres of his land was under water during the floods.

But he said he never relied on his flood plain land between the months of November and April due to the flood threat.

He said there were a range of options to help cut flooding, including dredging the Thames north of Oxford and also creating a £123m flood relief channel to the west of Oxford.

But the 49-year-old said: “We do seriously need to learn from this because these events are becoming more frequent.”

Environment Agency spokesman Ash Dobson said “We have spent £2.5million desilting and dredging channels, increasing the capacity of structures and providing temporary defences in the form of demountable flood barriers.”

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