East Anglian farmers have welcomed a raft of government measures aimed at helping them cope with the rocketing price of fertiliser.

Rising global gas prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, have driven ammonium nitrate fertiliser costs up to £1,000 per tonne - four times what they were at this time last year.

The measures announced by Defra secretary George Eustice MP include delaying proposed restrictions on the use of urea fertiliser by at least a year.

The restrictions, aimed at cutting air pollution, will include the use of ammonia inhibitors when implemented rather than a complete ban, he said.

The government also confirmed it does not intend to ban autumn manure-spreading under its Farming Rules for Water, and is clarifying its guidance "on how they [farmers] can use slurry and other manures during autumn and winter to meet agronomic needs".

And there were updates to the new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), part of the post-Brexit green incentives regime for landowners.

The government said it would pay farmers to help with the costs of sowing nitrogen-fixing plants and "green manures" in or ahead of their crops, as a substitute to some of their fertiliser requirements for the coming season.

This will reduce dependence on manufactured fertilisers linked to the price of gas, officials said.

Rob Wise, East Anglia environment adviser for the National Farmers' Union (NFU), said: “Farmers across East Anglia are experiencing unprecedented costs when buying fertiliser, alongside tightening supplies, and it’s crucial that government implements measures to mitigate some of these effects.

“Many of the measures announced today will be positive for farmers and are steps we’ve been calling for.

"They include the industry-led regulation of urea, the extension of Defra’s Market Monitoring Group to understand trends in the market and the updated guidance on Farming Rules for Water, which will allow autumn manure spreading.

“The new guidance on Farming Rules for Water will enable farm businesses to plan with confidence and drive forward improvements that benefit soil and plant health, as well as water quality."

An industry fertiliser roundtable will be chaired by farming minister Victoria Prentis MP to assess the pressures on farmers and to work on more solutions, with the first meeting this week, said Defra.