In the week that foot and mouth disease returned to inflict more misery on Britain's beleaguered agriculture industry, Tesco has spearheaded a retailer rescue package of sorts and given farmers something to smile about - sweeping price rises in dairy and bakery goods.

Now the other big supermarkets have all chipped in with increases of their own.

However, it remains to be seen how retailers will react in response to the latest FMD outbreak. Can supermarkets up the price of meat as well as bread and milk while an export ban floods the UK market with cut-price livestock?

Food prices don't look like coming down any time soon with this week's news that Australia's drought had cut its wheat production, pushing US wheat prices to an all-time high.

Even Sir Terry can't alter the weather. But he could have a big say over what the impact of the latest FMD outbreak will be on producers. Britain's farmers need more goodwill from our biggest retailers. They'd better hope there's some left in the tank.

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