We've just come out of the third driest winter of the last 60 years, following on from the biggest floods in the summer for the same period. We've had about half as much rain as normal in the last 6 months. The last decent rainfall we had was on Sunday, but before that, 6 weeks ago, and whilst March was wet, the rest of the year has been dry so far.
Irrigating wheat in the Creuse Valley, late April.
Water tables have been classified as low and if there is not enough rain to replenish them farmers will not be able to use underground and river water to irrigate for much longer. The cereal farmers are not too worried at the moment though. But they will be if the first half of May turns out to be dry. By mid May the wheat will be setting ears of grain and if there is insufficient rain at this critical time the yield at harvest time will be low. Late May is normally rather wet so the farmers are remaining sanguine. At the back of their minds though will be the possibility that late May sees another deluge like last year, which will be equally bad for their bank balances because their crops will be drowned like they were last year.