NFU President Peter Kendall has written to all members following the announcement that the pilot badger cull will be delayed.
He writes: "It is with deep regret and massive disappointment that I have to inform you of the decision to postpone the two pilot badger culls...
"...I appreciate that this news will be a real blow for everyone involved in making this policy work.
"We have really been up against it in terms of timing; there was need to avoid any overlap with the Olympics and Paralympics, which set the start date back right from the start.
"We were then subject to further delay as a result of the legal challenges by the Badger Trust. On top of this we all know as farmers how awful the weather has been this summer and autumn.
"In addition to the timing issue we have very recently seen a significant increase in the estimates of badger numbers that we would be required to cull. This led us to conclude that if we proceeded under these circumstances we ran a very high risk of falling short of the new higher numbers needed to demonstrate that the policy worked...
"... We will regroup; this is a delay in implementing the policy and not a change of policy. You have my commitment that we will carry on..."