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Cumbrian farmers hit by £1.7 million losses, survey reveals

Survey lays bare the devastation caused to farm businesses, with experts fearing the financial impact will have a lasting effect.

Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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38 farmers reported 701 sheep deaths between them
38 farmers reported 701 sheep deaths between them

The results of an industry survey carried out on Cumbrian farms earlier this year has revealed widespread devastation caused by the winter floods, with 144 farmers reporting collective losses of £1.7 million.

 

Defra has estimated 650 farms were affected by Storm Desmond which deluged farms in December. Additional heavy rain in the weeks following added to the devastation.

 

It means farmers could be facing losses of several millions of pounds.

 

David Hall, NFU North West regional director, said: “This survey shows us clearly the impact of the storms and what farmers face in terms of immediate recovery.

 

Read now: George Eustice urges flood-hit farmers to apply for available funding to aid recovery


"In the longer term farmers face higher costs as stock will need to be fed with bought in fodder. It’s also highly likely that forage yields will be low this year.”

 

Farmer Network coordinators, including a team from Westmorland Agricultural Society, contacted farmers as part of the survey.

 

Adam Day, managing director of The Farmer Network added: “The results of the survey can now be used to help flood affected farm businesses with not only flood recovery issues, but also essential future flood planning and mitigation.

 

“Farmers want to have much more hands on involvement in managing catchment areas, on and near to, their land than has been allowed in the past.”

 

Out of 1,000 farmers contacted, 220 responded to the survey. Out of those:

  • 63 per cent lost sections of watercourse bank sides
  • 37 per cent have lost walls
  • 14 per cent have lost hedgerows
  • 38 farmers reported 701 sheep deaths between them and in addition 16 farmers reported a total of 189 sheep missing
  • 53 per cent reported river stone/gravel deposit and 22 per cent experienced land slips

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