Farmers have warned of the catastrophic impact flooding will have on their businesses, after Storm Dennis saw unprecedented rainfall batter UK farms.
Significant river and surface flooding has seen hundreds of properties evacuated and more than 150 flooding warnings in place across the country, including six severe warnings.
Major incidents were declared in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire, as well as South Wales, which has been particularly badly hit.
Herefordshire farmer Ally Hunter Blair, whose 169 acres of farmland is now underwater, warned the sheer scale of the flooding was ‘catastrophic’ for his business.
He said: “Winter crops are our money makers so having to spend all this time trying to re drill into summer crops is concerning – we are looking at March before we are even able to look at the field.
“The unprecedented rainfall has meant a lot of our crops are now underwater and therefore dead and the costs of trying to repair our fields will be high.”
Further heavy rain has built up in parts of Wales and flooding has seen the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells submerged in water for several days.
NFU deputy president Guy Smith said delayed agri-environment schemes payments had also added increasing financial pressure on farmers impacted by wet weather and called for the cash to reach farmers’ bank accounts ’as soon as possible’.
A Defra spokesperson said: “We are working closely with the RPA to look at all the available options to support farmers who are impacted by wet weather issues and we remain committed to ensuring remaining payments are made as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile the NFU has called on the Government to grant a derogation from the three crop rule and to broaden the extent of the Farming Recovery Fund to help flood-hit farmers with any uninsurable losses as a result of flooding.
The Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency said the impacts of Storm Dennis are likely to be felt over the next few days.