Highland cattle bask in warm sunny temperatures©Food and Drink/Rex

2014 was the UK’s warmest and fourth wettest year since records began in 1910, according to the Met Office.

Last year was also the warmest on record in the central England temperature series, which dates back to 1659.

Long sunny spells brought favourable growing weather to help farmers harvest some bumper crops.

See also: Hot weather helps Britain’s bees bounce back

But although the NFU described last year’s growing conditions as “perfect”, low prices dampened farmer sentiment.

The average temperature for the year was 9.9C, which was 1.1C above the long-term average (from 1981 to 2000) and beat the previous record of 9.7C recorded in 2006.

Last year’s record means that eight of the UK’s top 10 warmest years have happened since 2002.

It was the warmest year on record for all countries and regions apart from Northern Ireland, which had its joint third warmest year behind 2007 and 2006.

Despite the record-breaking warmth, no months through the year saw record-breaking temperatures – instead each month was consistently warm, with only August seeing below average temperatures.

The provisional rainfall total of 1297.1 mm is the fourth highest total on record for the UK, meaning five of the UK’s top six wettest years have happened since 2000.

The most notable weather events of the year were the winter storms of January and February, which devastated huge swathes of farmland in Somerset and the Thames region.

In comparison, the rest of the year was relatively quiet. The summer brought some fine harvesting weather, particularly in July.

There were no major heatwaves but several instances of torrential summer downpours causing localised flash-flooding, for example across parts of England on 19-20 July.

Green campaigners at Friends of the Earth warned that without action to cut fossil fuels, the world was going to “keep warming” with “ever-increasing risks of climate disasters”.

FoE senior campaigner Simon Bullock said: “If we harness the full potential of energy efficiency and renewable power we can build the low-carbon future we urgently need.”

Weather Channel meteorologist Leon Brown said farmers should expect weather to remain unsettled in January.

Mr Brown forecast a mild week ahead with a north-south divide in terms of rainfall.

He said the North and north and west of Scotland would be very wet with more than 200% of normal rainfall. But the South would be much drier, with about 75% of normal rainfall.

Next week will remain unsettled and often windy, but colder with snow on northern hills.