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Last Updated: Monday, 28 November 2005, 11:43 GMT
Farmers warn over climate change
Harvesting crops on Manydown farm
Unpredictable weather patterns are worrying farmers
UK agriculture must adapt to climate change which could cause a global food shortage, farmers are warning.

The National Farmers' Union says the UK is in danger of losing skills and land which could be vital for the future.

A report is set to warn 60% of the best farmland is five metres or less above sea level, so much may be lost if global warming causes levels to rise.

The NFU's Peter Kendall said unpredictable weather patterns could mean the loss of some food sources.

Increasingly unpredictable patterns might mean the UK could no longer rely on countries like the Ukraine to supply it with food, he said, adding that the UK must take farming food and biofuels far more seriously.

Flood defences

The NFU report, to be published on Tuesday, will say that as scientists predict sea levels will rise as the world warms up, UK farms could have to spend a lot of money on flood defences to keep their land.

It will also warn that if oil prices continue to rise it will no longer be cost effective to bring in food from abroad, and far more will have to be produced in the UK.

In February, the government urged farmers to consider how they would cope with the effects of climate change - which it said could have severe implications for livestock and crops.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said changing weather patterns, including warmer, wetter winters and long hot summers, needed to be considered.

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