The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) today warned the latest case of foot and mouth could cost the industry millions.
The NFU said the cost of exports, including meat, meat products and dairy, is #1.8 million per day - a sum which will be lost due to restrictions in the wake of the latest outbreak.
A spokesman said last month’s outbreak is likely to cost the farming industry between #50 million and #80 million. He said: "The total cost of the most recent outbreak in August in lost exports, lower prices, biosecurity and general dis-location is likely to be in the region of #50-80 million."
The spokesman added that individual costs to farmers were hard to pinpoint as each farm operates differently in terms of livestock and numbers.
The figures came as farmers condemned the Government for not keeping them up-to-date on the current situation.
A 10km protection zone has been set up around farmland in Egham, Surrey. Farmers whose cattle graze nearby said they were not informed about the outbreak by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Andrew Parsons, of Smallwood Farm in nearby Chertsey, said he had driven to the area in an attempt to find out more.
"We’ve heard nothing except what we’ve heard on the television," he said.
"I’m really worried because I’ve got loads of pigs, a few cattle and horses and we were getting the pigs ready for slaughter tomorrow.
"I’m just going to keep driving around until I find it."
A farmer at Stroude Farm on Stroude Road said he had heard nothing of the news.
He said: "I have heard nothing about it. You’d think they’d let us know.
"This has made me go all cold. It was only Monday that they opened up the country after the last time. I can’t believe it’s happening again."
The infected cattle belong to Hardwick Park Farm but were grazing in a rented field at Milton Park Farm, Stroude Road.
Sally Hepplethwaite, of The Klondyke on Hardwick Lane, about 500 yards outside the police road block, said she was "tearful".
She and her husband, who are both in their 70s, keep a small herd of cattle as pets and she said most of them are in calf or feeding calves.
She said: "Today’s job was going to be to throw away the disinfectant-soaked matting at the front gate because it was all over. We’ve been so careful but sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Birds can bring it in, or rats, or even the air.
"But it’s not us I feel sorry for. It’s the young ones who make their living out of it. I don’t know what they’re going to do."
The NFU said it sent a text message to each of its members informing them of the outbreak and urging vigilance as soon as the latest case had been confirmed.
NFU president Peter Kendall said: "Farmers must be extremely vigilant and biosecurity is of paramount importance.
"The imposition of movement restrictions is absolutely imperative to ensure the disease is stopped in its tracks."
Neil Parish MEP, chairman of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee, said Defra’s immediate task would be to stop the disease spreading further and farmers would rightly be asking how this had happened.
He also called for those affected to be properly compensated for any losses.
"Farming and its associated industries deserve proper compensation for the failings that resulted in the original outbreak. If Pirbright is found to be responsible again, the case for compensation will grow."
* Meanwhile Government officials today said there had been no confirmed outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Norfolk.
A Defra spokeswoman said vets were carrying out tests on an animal.
But she said the animal was not thought to be suffering from foot and mouth disease.