Agricultural inflation has leapt by 34pc in the last year - a relentless rise in costs described as an "existential threat" to East Anglian farm businesses.

The AgInflation Index is generated using data from AF Group's buying office at Honingham Thorpe, outside Norwich, which sources more than £250m of agricultural goods every year for its 3,000 members across the country.

The latest estimates show the total cost of farming inputs increased by 34.15pc from September 2021 to end of September 2022 - eclipsing the 22pc rise recorded the previous year.

Animal feed and medicine, fuel and fertiliser saw the greatest increases, at 36pc, 42.8pc and 133.8pc respectively.

The figures show no type of farming enterprise has avoided double-digit cost inflation, which is outpacing the rising price of food and drink on shop shelves.

The food Retail Price Index has risen over the same one-year period by an average of 13.1pc, meaning farms are not being compensated for their rising costs.

AF Group's analysis says the gap between consumer prices and farm production costs is widening for many foods, with "serious shortfalls" for beef and lamb (18.1pc), granulated sugar, bread and margarine (all about 20pc) and potatoes (29.1pc).

Chief executive David Horton-Fawkes said: “The results of our latest Aginflation index can only be described as alarming.

"The spiralling costs of farm inputs exceeds anything we have seen since we first published our index in 2006.

"These findings are an existential threat to many farmers and we are seeing signs that some businesses are beginning to struggle and the consequences will be felt by all of us.

"We are urging our members to plan their cash flows and use our index to work with processors and advisors to confront these brutal facts because business as usual in 2023 is not going to be an option.

"The energy price cap will provide only temporary respite because the cap is limited and is not an open-ended commitment.

"Farmers are tough and resourceful, and we’ve all had our fill of doom and gloom, but no one can afford to ignore these results.”