Earliest pea harvest in North Lincolnshire for decades

Pea harvest in North Lincolnshire
Image caption The warm spring has caused the peas to mature quickly.

The harvesting of pea crop in North Lincolnshire has started at the earliest time of the year in more than 30 years because of the warm spring, a pea processing firm has said.

Birds Eye said the crop was being harvested two weeks earlier than originally planned.

The early start has meant that many students, who often work on the harvest, are still sitting exams.

The firm is having to find alternative workers.

James Young, head of agriculture for Birds Eye, said: "The dry weather caused our peas to mature extremely quickly and led to us beginning our 2011 crop harvest two weeks ahead of schedule.

"This early start has called for us to rally our seasonal staff and ensure the factory in Hull is up to speed and ready to ensure we meet our consumer promise of freezing within 2.5 hours of picking.

"Starting early has meant many of the students usually employed to work during the harvest are still sitting their exams, so Birds Eye has had to find alternative workers.

"The drought and some frost damage have affected crop prospects in the early season, but we are hoping to recover this and plan to work towards freezing our usual 40,000 tonnes of peas this year, across 9,000 hectares (22,239 acres) of crops from 230 farms."

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