This dramatic weather graphic illustrates the extent of flooding farmers have been battling over the last few months.
The Impact of Flooding on Agriculture graphic, released by the Environment Agency, shows large parts of UK farmland were lying under water in late November.
Since the drought ended last April, record levels of rainfall have afflicted much of the country. According to the Met Office, the past 12 months were the second wettest on record in the UK.
This graphic of flooded farmland area, taken from 28-30 November last year, shows how weeks of persistent heavy rain inundated large swathes of farmland. The worst-affected regions, highlighted in blue to illustrate “flood extent”, included south-west England, south-east Wales and parts of the Midlands.
At a heated NFU Council meeting in Stoneleigh last Tuesday (22 January), farmers blasted the Environment Agency for its handling of the floods in 2012.
They accused the agency of putting off vital river maintenance and dredging and said it must spend more money to prevent farmland from flooding or make it easier for farmers get on with the job themselves.
David Rooke, environment agency director for flooding and coastal risk management, said: “We sympathise with farmers and understand the challenges that the widespread flooding in 2012 has caused to the farming community.
“There is no easy affordable quick fix to increasing the resilience of farming to the extremes of weather, but the discussions at the NFU Council were welcome.
“We will continue to work closely with farmers, the NFU and DEFRA to find a way forward on the issues raised.”
Meanwhile, more than 50 flood warnings remained in place across England on Monday (28 January), including 26 in the Midlands. In Wales, 11 flood alerts are in place, Environment Agency Wales said.
The Met Office said parts of south-west and northern England remained at threat of further flooding on Monday, with heavy rain forecast.
“Given the saturated ground, the public should be aware that further localised flooding is possible,” said the Met Office in a statement.
Wet, windy and mild weather is forecast to continue across much of the UK for the rest of this week, with further flooding expected.
The Environment Agency urged farmers to sign up to its flood warnings service and regularly monitor the weather forecast.