FARMING leaders gave a wary welcome to last week's extension of the Brexit process to October 31.

They were pleased an abrupt no deal Brexit had been avoided but said it still left farmers with uncertainty over the future.

Tim Breitmeyer, president of the Country Land and Business Association, said it should give sufficient time to nurture a post-Brexit relationship with the EU which delivers as free and frictionless trade as possible.

"This has to be the ultimate goal," he said. "The extra time needs to be used wisely. We need a more consensual approach to negotiations in both Westminster and Brussels than has been the case to date, so a deal can be collectively delivered which meets the needs of farming and the wider economy."

Minette Batters, NFU president, said farming requires long term planning.

"While this extension will provide some relief in the short-term, it remains the case that farmers and growers are still left with no certainty about the future which is hugely damaging to one of the UK's largest manufacturing sectors, worth more than £100bn to the national economy.

"We have crops and livestock in fields with farmers and growers still in the dark about what trading environment they will be operating in, whether they will have access to a sufficient workforce to carry out essential roles this season, or what the UK's future domestic agricultural policy will look like."

It was crucial the extension was used constructively and avoids the UK being in the same position in October.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) said the extension gave sheep farmers more certainty about sheep meat sales this spring and summer, but was unhappy with the uncertainty still hanging over the sector.

Bryan Griffiths, chairman, said: "What we can't afford is to find ourselves six months down the line in the same position, risking a no deal again. We hope this time will be used to develop a deal that's beneficial and would allow the free trade so essential to our industry."