UK food production could be reduced by nearly a tenth as farmers across the country have been hit by one of the wettest winters on record, new analysis warns.

Estimates show that the projected reduction in key arable crops as a result of lower crop area and poor yields will reduce UK self-sufficiency across all farming sectors by 8% when measured by volume.

According to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), this is a decline from an average of 86% between 2018 and 2022 to 78% this year.

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The UK could become dependent on foreign imports for around a third of its wheat, with wheat self-sufficiency estimated to decline from 92% in the same period to 68%.

With soils too waterlogged and many fields flooded for much of the winter, many farmers have not been able to establish crops.

Climate scientists warn that warmer, wetter winters are projected to become increasingly common, raising concerns about the impact of climate change on UK food security.

The analysis comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak this week hosts farmers and farming representatives at Downing Street for his ‘Farm to Fork Summit’.

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But Tom Lancaster, land analyst at ECIU, said that farmers needed more government support to better cope with climate extremes.

“In 2021, the government warned that climate change was the biggest medium to long term threat to our food security," he added.

"This analysis suggests that it is the biggest risk now, not at some far off point in the future."

The report estimates that, compared to the average production between 2018 and 2022, the reduction in wheat self-sufficiency could see imports rise from 1.9m tonnes to 4.8m tonnes.

UK flour millers have warned that the higher grade milling wheat harvest could be down by as much as 40%, giving rise to concerns about the price of bread and other baked goods.

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Although oats and barley will remain stable due to higher anticipated areas of spring planting, self-sufficiency in oilseed rape is estimated to collapse to a historic low of 40%, down from 75% between 2018 and 2022.

With other crops that have suffered due to the wet weather not included in the analysis, such as field vegetables, potatoes and sugar beet, ECIU says it is possible that an 8% reduction in headline self-sufficiency is an under-estimate.

Last month, ECIU published analysis that showed the harvest this year could be down by as much as a fifth compared to 2023 due to the wet winter.

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

The union'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.