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Stackyard News Jun 07

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Polytunnels Save Strawberries from Wet Weather

Tennis fans can still enjoy British strawberries as they watch Wimbledon because the crop has been protected from the unusually heavy rain by polytunnels.

photo courtesy of


Since they were introduced 14 years ago, polytunnels have enabled British soft fruit growers to produce increasingly successful crops, not least because they prevent rain damage to growing fruit. In an average year, without the use of polytunnels some 40 per cent of the crop would be damaged by rainfall.

Richard Hirst, NFU horticulture board chairman, said: “As well as extending the growing season from May until October, polytunnels also play a major role in saving ripening fruit from rain damage. Their use means the current bad weather will not have caused anywhere near as many problems as it could have done.

“The British soft fruit industry is worth £185 million every year and polytunnels have been a key element in its development because of the improved conditions for growing they offer. British growers are now successfully competing with foreign imports from Spain and Egypt and increasing the growing season has had a major impact on the food miles that used to be attached to strawberries imported before June and after July.”

This year particularly British growers will have found their polytunnels invaluable in protecting their crop and ensuring that British consumers are able to continue to enjoy the quality, low food miles, British soft fruit they have come to expect.

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