A SHEEP farmer from Abergavenny has spoken about her concerns that the long hot summer will affect her livestock, and how the increased risk of fire is perilous to all farmers.

Kate Beavan runs Kate's Country School at the 300-acre Great Tre-rhew Farm in Llanvetherine.

She said the unusually warm weather this year has forced her, and a lot of other farmers, to dip into winter reserves to feed their animals.

This will have a knock-on effect when winter arrives and farmers are left with insufficient food reserves.

“Fodder is a huge problem”, Mrs Beavan said.

“We're using clover that we would normally cut for hay as grazing for the lambs after weaning.

“Also our winter crop of swedes has failed to grow due to the lack of rain.

“We normally strip graze the pregnant ewes on the swedes over the winter and will now have to use alternative food.”

Fears over dwindling reserves of winter fodder was on the agenda for crisis talks between farmers and ministers at the Royal Welsh Show on July 25.

Farmers like Mrs Beavan are also concerned about the heightened fire risk, as fields of dry grass and crops provide tinderbox conditions for fires to start and spread rapidly.

Mrs Beavan said her son had witnesses one such blaze this week.

“My son was working on a farm in Herefordshire (on July 25) when the fire brigade was called out as a field of wheat caught fire at the side of the road”, she said.

“It could have been a cigarette butt thrown out of a car.

“It’s really important people realise the risk and don't light barbecues and discard cigarettes.”