WHEN it comes to the weather we never seem to be satisfied.

It’s either too cold, too wet and miserable or, as in the recent situation, too warm.

Previous damp summers have left us with low expectations but statistics indicate we may just be experiencing some of the driest months on record - fine for those who love to soak up the rays but soaring temperatures can have a detrimental impact on those making their livelihood from the land.

Earlier this year the Beast from the East hampered crop production now farmers are facing fresh consternation over the welfare of their livestock following the driest half of summer on record.

Many farmers are having to dip into their winter fodder resources as grasslands remain parched despite the odd sporadic downpour.

Robert Phillip’s highland cattle are particularly feeling the heat. Robert, a third generation of farmers at Green Farm in Hellifield near Skipton, explains the weather is impacting on them supplying water to their cows.

Springs which naturally help to quench their cattle’s thirst are drying up prompting them to put a pipe across a field to access their main supply. “The last time we did that was in 1976,” says Robert.

He, like many in the farming industry, is also concerned they are having to use winter feed now due to the impact the hot weather is having on grass growth.

“Everybody is going to be very low, plus a lot are already feeding a lot of winter stocks now,” says Robert.

However, farmers know more than most you cannot control the weather. “We have gone from one extreme to another. In March/April it was wet, we didn’t know where to put our animals. It has gone from swampy to drought in very little time. It’s easier coping with the drought than the swamp and the animals don’t need a lot of feed when the weather is like this but it’s just what we are going to do in winter when there is nothing to feed them on.”

He says prices for silage, haylage and straw are already escalating prompting them to contemplate whether there is any point in increasing their cattle stocks when they may be struggling to feed them due to the cost.

“We buy a lot of straw in but if that isn’t there what do we put them on in Winter?” says Robert.

“It has a knock on effect on everything.”

Meanwhile, for Mark Goodall, the fifth generation of dairy farmers at Goodalls in Tong Village, the heatwave is having a positive impact on sales of the icecream he produces from his dairy herd and sells through his icecream parlour, but he is also facing the similar situation as many farmers in feeding his cattle.

The impact of the heat on the grass means his cattle are eating 10 tonne a day - Mark explains normally they would consume half that amount at this time of year.

He says the problem will be in mid-winter if they don’t get the feed. “It is deadly serious. We have managed to buy some hay but it’s a drop in the ocean of what we need.”

“But I think everybody is in the same boat. Nationwide it is the same problem.”

However icecream sales are booming....”It’s a nice change because normally our summers are wet. We normally get to the point where the children break up from school and the monsoons seem to come so it’s a nice change that we are actually getting a summer although a bit of both would be nice!” he adds.

Glancing out on to brown fields, surprisingly bordered by hedges which remain green, Dairy farmer, Malcolm Fewster, who runs the family farm, Listing Mill Farm in Gomersal, says: “In 20 odd years it is probably the worst year I have ever had. We had such a poor spring as in the Beast from the East and it extended into spring.”

He explains the welfare of the cows is particularly important - providing shady areas, space and plenty of water is paramount to help them cope with the heat.

“The one saving grace is the milk price is half decent, it’s about 30 pence per litre for us,” he adds.

In relation to the impact the heat is having on crops, a Morrisons spokeswoman said: "Our customers say reducing food waste and supporting farmers is really important to them.

"We speak to our farmers all of the time about how crops are ripening. If their crop is not ripening as expected – due to extreme weather – we have the option either of relaxing specifications to help them out or including it in our Wonky range. Recently we have relaxed our specifications for salads - including lettuce, cucumbers, celery, herbs and peppers.

"Unless the standard product is on promotion, Wonky will always be cheaper to encourage customers to buy it."

While many are preying for more rain, it looks like the warm weather is here to stay....

Grahame Madge, a Met Office spokesman, said: “Although many areas across the UK will see a temporary reprieve from the heat and dry conditions we are expecting to see high pressure building once more during next week.

“During August there is a signal that weather patterns will only change slowly, with western and southern areas expected to remain largely dry, sunny and very warm.”