Britain’s happiest farmers are in the north

Results of a recent survey commissioned by BASF found that arable farmers in England, Scotland and Wales are generally happy and confident about the coming three months, with 65% feeling that the time is right to invest in major farm purchases.

The survey conducted over the telephone by an independent market research company found that 70% of farmers with over 100ha of arable land are relatively content about the current status of their farms and farming activity.

Farmers in the north of England were recorded as the happiest, with 82% saying they are pleased with how their farms are faring. Of the northern farmers, 77% said that they believed that the time is right to invest in high-value items like machinery, precision technology and farm storage, this compared with only 40% confidence for Welsh farmers, 66% for farmers in southern England and 45% in the Midlands.

Commenting on the findings, Joe Dixon, BASF’s Stakeholder Engagement Manager said: “what is also interesting is the high levels of confidence in Scotland; farmers north of the border rank second in the happiness stakes, but are top when it comes to big-ticket investment with 78% of respondents citing that now is the right time to do it.”

The survey also probed the levels of confidence in farm finances over the next three months; 80% of Welsh farmers said they were confident, compared with 55% in northern England, 39% in Scotland, 35% in the Midlands and just 29% in southern England.

“The confidence in investment seems to be at odds with the coolness in the buoyancy of farm finances, but their comments highlight why,” Mr Dixon explains. “Farmers are worried about the Basic Payment System and are generally lacking in confidence at the ability of the Rural Payment Agency to process single farm payments in a timely manner.”

Other causes for worry are focused on the EU, with concerns surrounding the impact of the recent CAP reforms and the EU moving the goalposts on current rules and legislation.

More details of this and other surveys will be shared with farmers at BASF’s agricultural discussion groups. Any farmer interested in joining a group or event should contact their local agronomy manager. The team’s details are listed here. http://www.agricentre.basf.co.uk/agroportal/uk/en/about_us_3/agronomy_managers/contact_us_agronomy_managers.html

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