Although the official figures will not be released until later this month, the English National Farmers Union estimates that the extreme weather has caused a staggering £1.3 billion loss in farm income in 2012 as a result of extreme weather problems.

And the union warns that might not be the final tally as many farmers currently have land under water or are facing a double-whammy of huge feed bills for their livestock.

With farmers reeling from both the physical and financial challenges from last year, union president Peter Kendall has called for fresh thinking from government on farm policy in his 2013 message to the industry.

“We know drought in the key production regions across the globe is the main driver for rocketing animal feed costs. In stark contrast, at home a wash-out summer – further compounded by a sodden autumn and winter – has hammered production.

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