NFU has warned that the drastic reduction in crops expected due to the wet weather has shown just how vulnerable British farms are.

The union said the government must boost UK food security as farmers continue to face wet weather, with many thousands of acres of farmland affected.

The warning is in response to an AHDB survey showing that yields of crops such as wheat, winter barley, and oilseed rape are likely to be significantly reduced this year.

It predicts that wheat is down 15% at 1.463 Mha, the biggest reduction in cropped areas since 2020, while oilseed rape is down 28% at 280 Kha, the largest fall since the 1980s.

Winter barley is down 22% at 355 Kha, the biggest reduction since 2020, but spring barley is up 29%, at 881 Kha.

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Responding to the results, NFU president Tom Bradshaw noted that many farms in areas such as Lincolnshire were still under water from last October.

“Since the end of last year, farms across the country have faced continued wet weather with many thousands of acres of productive farmland affected," he said.

"We have heard countless desperate stories from our members who are struggling to get on to their fields to plant any crops.

“While it is difficult to mitigate against all environmental extremes, we must recognise that we haven’t been prioritising our water management and things are going drastically wrong.”

AHDB explained that the wet autumn meant lower levels of planting, while continued severe weather resulted in winter losses.

It said farmers still had the chance to plant crops, but if heavy rain continued, crops would be planted at a point where they may become economically unviable.

Mr Bradshaw said the results from the levy organisation's survey 'paint a bleak picture and build on an unprecedented year in terms of high input costs'.

“It is another example of how vulnerable British food producing businesses are," he said.

"That’s why domestic food production must be given the right policy framework and the priority it deserves."

The NFU’s election manifesto sets out how more funding is needed by the Environment Agency so it can deliver a plan of management and re-investment in the watercourses and flood defences.

The manifesto also urges the next government to commit to an agricultural budget that ensures British farming can meet the challenges of climate change.