More than £5.5 million has been approved to help 559 Cumbrian flood-wrecked farming businesses get back on their feet.

It is part of a £9 million pot allocated to more than 1,000 farmers across northern England, as part of the Farming Recovery Fund set up by the government.

The fund will go some way to rebuilding those farmsteads devastated by floodwater in the wake of Storms Desmond and Eva last December.

Hundreds of farm animals perished in the storms, and thousands of acres were taken out of agricultural production as a result of the floods.

The cash has helped farmers to mend and replace fences, stone walls and gates, clear debris, restore damaged river banks and field access.

About 80 hectares of agricultural land at Warwick Hall, near Carlisle, was submerged by up to 2m of water when the River Eden burst its banks during the December floods.

After the floodwater receded farmer Nick Marriner discovered 90 per cent of his holding had been affected. Boundary fences were destroyed and the floodwater had left fine sand, silt and more than 130 silage bales of silage had to be dumped.

Livestock could not be kept on the land and field operations, such as fertilising and growing crops, was impossible.

The Farming Recovery Fund paid out a grant of £18,192 to remove the debris from the land and reinstate 2,705m of sheep netting and a field gate.

The fund was set up as part of a wider £250 million package of support set up to help communities affected by the devastating December floods.

Farming Minister George Eustice said: "I am delighted that more than £1m of repairs have been completed and reimbursed by the government, helping flood-affected farmers get their businesses back on track to contribute to a thriving rural economy and world-leading food and farming industry." ‪ ‪

Rural Payments Agency chief executive Mark Grimshaw said: "I am pleased that we have been able to play our part in delivering the Farming Recovery Fund, approving applications that will help farmers recover from the effects of last year’s winter floods."

He added: "With more than £1 million already paid to farmers who have claimed, I would encourage those who have had their applications approved, to send their claims for completed work to us before the end of December deadline."

All farmers who applied to the Farming Recovery Fund have been notified of the outcome of their application.

Claims for completed repair work must be submitted to the RPA by December 31 2016. Any farmer who is unable to meet the December deadline due to exceptional circumstances should contact the Rural Services Helpline.

Grants of up to £20,000 were available to farmers in Cumbria, Lancashire and Northumberland, Yorkshire, County Durham and Greater Manchester.

In total, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) received more than 1,100 applications.