Farming Update August 2016

Promised Reduction in Caged Egg Sales

More large supermarkets are following the leads of Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, by pledging to stop selling eggs from enriched cage systems by 2025.  The current market has 40% of its eggs from caged birds.

Agricultural Building Conversion Cutbacks

The expected rise in agricultural building conversions has been hit by a fall in funding for property developers, and banks halving their lending to this area over the past two years.  The number of active projects has fallen by 25%.

Europe’s Influence on Environment

The Environmental Audit Commission have begun an enquiry into the effect of the Brexit vote on the natural environment. It is estimated that 80% of the UK environmental legislation comes from the EU and the Commission is calling for most of this to be retained.

Farm Borrowing Continues to Rise

UK Farm borrowing rose by 6.4%, in the year ending June 2016, to a record £17.7bn. Borrowing has risen by 90% in the last ten years with land values rising 176%.

Post Brexit Positivity from the Farming Minister

George Eustice, the farming minister, is promoting a positive ‘post Brexit’ message, with a policy more tailored to the UK and the wider markets it wants to enter.

25 Years of the Fastrac

JCB is celebrating 25 years of the Fastrac, a revolutionary machine with truck style brakes and speeds capable of 47mph. More specific models have been produced in recent years to assist with rail-side work and the US military.

US Import Rules Relaxed

Propositions have been made to relax import restrictions on British lamb by the United States, potentially opening up the US market to British lamb & beef. It could be worth £35m to producers.

Tractor Sales Down on Last Year

Tractor sales continue to fall when compared to last year, with 10% fewer sales at half year point. Higher power tractors sales have increased, but at the expense of the mid-range equivalents.

Short Term Reassurance on EU & Cap Schemes

UK farmers will continue to have full access to the EU internal market and CAP schemes until the end of Brexit negotiations. Defra have suggested regulations would have to be fully considered and amended prior to changes, which could extend beyond 2020.

Land Price Uncertainty

The recent economic uncertainty has prompted farm land investment as a safe haven, and non-farming investors may have a big influence on future land prices.

Family Farms in Decline

Exeter University has published a report that family farm numbers have reduced by 50% in 16 years.

Farm Death Numbers Down

The HSE reported 29 farm deaths in the year to 31st March 2016, three fewer than the previous 12 months.