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Cool summer means early apples


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THE coolest summer for 18 years means autumn fruits and golden leaves are on their way early.

That means good news for wild birds bingeing on berries but has given fruit farmers a slight headache.

Martin Harrel, of Hayles Fruit Farm, near Winchcombe, sells apples and pears at Stroud farmers’ market, and he has had to hurriedly recruit pickers to catch the early crop.

"Crops of apples such as Discovery are 15 to 17 days early," he said. "And Cox’s are 10 to 14 days early. It affects us from a pickers point of view, as we secured them in February."

The central England average temperature for summer 2011 was 14.9C – a temperature not seen since 1993 and down from 15.9C last year, provisional figures for June 1 to August 29 show.

Meteogroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said this compares to a long-term average of 15.3C which is taken over a period of 30 years.

The summer has also been considerably wetter across most of the country with southern England and eastern Scotland taking the brunt of the rain.

It means a glut of berries, and Dr Gordon McGlone, chief executive of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, said some birds will be able to take advantage of that this autumn and winter.

"Species like Thrush and Fieldfare will benefit from that," he said. "They will be very happy birds.

"The summer has been quite dry but not seriously enough to make big differences."

He said more general climactic change still means temperatures in general are rising, however.

Coolest

The Citizen’s weather expert Ian Thomas said according to his records, this year had seen the coolest summer in Dursley since 1998.

This year the average temperature was 15.3C, as opposed to 15C 13 years ago.

"Of the 92 days in (August, July and June), 32 days were 21C or lower," he said.

"The warmest day was June 26, at 29C."

While the majority of the country has seen higher than average rainfall this summer, some parts of the country including Gloucestershire escaped the rainfall and remained dryer than normal, said Mr Thomas.

http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/story-13259083-detail/story.html?

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