Calls to farming charities are rising to higher levels than at any point since the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic as the effects of the movement restrictions are felt.

“Over the past two weeks there has been a four-fold rise in calls on our helpline,” says Trish Pickford of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

The calls are coming from livestock farmers who are feeling the effects of the movement restrictions, particularly smaller family farms where cashflow is especially critical, she says. “Hardest hit are those who were already suffering as a result of the July flooding.”

The RABI confidential helpline number is 01865 727888. Farm Crisis Network can be contacted on 07002 326326. ARC-Addington Fund is on 024 7669 0587. See www.farminghelp.org.uk