FARMS in the county could be struggling to cope with a fall in the numbers of EU seasonal labourers.

A report, published in the Independent, said that the National Farmer's Union was warning of "millions of apples" being left to rot in UK orchards as Brexit uncertainty worsens a labour shortfall.

The NFU said a shortage of pickers has forced farmers to leave tons of fruit and vegetables: the equivalent of 16 million apples in fields and orchards.

According to the NFU, Brexit fears are fuelling a shortage of workers as more EU nationals are leaving the UK amid concerns about freedom of movement and stricter immigration checks.

Ali Capper, head of the NFU's horticulture and potato board, who runs the Stocks Farm to the west of Worcester, told The Independent: "I think it is morally reprehensible that we are allowing this level of food waste.

"Brexit has put a lot of question marks in the minds of EU nationals.

"The shortages have increased every year since the referendum.

"The difficulty to recruit, primarily from Romania and Bulgaria, has become really really hard in the last few years.

"It has got harder every year.”

Cllr Louis Stephen, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Worcester said: "It is clear that temporary seasonal workers are a vital part of UK businesses’ method to meet short term periods of high demand in the picking season without having all the overhead costs of full time members of staff.

"For economic and environmental reasons we need to grow more food in the UK and making it harder for seasonal foreign workers to come here is simply an ideological own-goal."

Some fruit farms in the county appear unaffected however.

Clive's Fruit Farm in Upton confirmed that they use full time pickers rather than seasonal labourers so they were unaffected by the issue.

Similarly, Harvey's Fruit Farm and County Store in Great Witley said they do not use fruit pickers.