Wind damage critical for soft fruit

Scottish soft fruit growers were yesterday counting the cost of the high winds that swept through the country on Monday, with estimates of millions of pounds worth of damage being caused to their crops. Growers were also predicting that yields of Scottish raspberries and strawberries will be drastically reduced this year.

Ross Mitchell of Laurencekirk described the damage as "horrific", with poly tunnels completely flattened. "We will salvage what we can. There is no insurance. This is the risk we take."

His biggest concern was the damage done to the plants in the tunnels with the wind stripping the leaves off the crop.

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Lochy Porter, of Angus Soft Fruits, based in Arbroath, admitted there had been structural damage to the tunnels which was being assessed but again the main worry was the adverse effect the wind had on crops.

Most of Scotland's strawberries and raspberries are now produced under these covers which cost upwards of 30,000 per acre to erect. Last year, the Scottish soft fruit industry produced more than 130 million of crop and it has been seen as one of the success stories of Scottish agriculture.