Loam Farm Update

The 2024 harvest year continues to be challenging for cereals farmers.  Whilst dryer weather has allowed some spring operations to progress, the wet weather since the autumn has already affected the likely financial returns for the coming harvest.

In light of these difficulties we have updated our Loam Farm Model.  Loam Farm is a notional 600 hectare business that has been used since 1991 to track the fortunes of British combinable cropping farms.  It is partly owned and partly rented and is based on real-life data. It has one full-time worker and employs harvest casual labour.

The farm has just finished its sales from harvest 2023.  It can be seen that the returns have been far lower than the previous 2021 and 2022 harvests.  However, those two were unusually good (some of the best profits Loam Farm has seen in 30+ years).  The results for harvest 2023 are far more in line with historical averages.  However, even with the farm making a profit, the business is under some cashflow pressure due to higher working capital requirements and the need to pay tax on the profits from the two previous good years.

For harvest 2024, variable costs have reduced – mainly lower fertiliser values.  Overheads increase due to labour, machinery, fuel and general overhead cost inflation.  Some costs have increased to deliver the SFI options that the farm has signed-up for.   The key issue for the coming harvest is output though.  Despite the reduced UK harvest crop prices are un-exciting for growers – largely due to plentiful grain stocks  around the world.  Yields are also forecast to be lower.  Loam Farm is assumed to have established its winter crops, but the forecast yield has been reduced due to crop stress over winter and the significant bare patches in fields.  The farm has around a third spring cropping.  Again, these crops are assumed to have been established but the expected yield has been cut due to the late planting and unfavourable soil conditions.  It can be seen that, for Loam Farm, this means there is a forecast loss from production for this harvest.  The (declining) BPS and SFI are required to bring the business back into profit.

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial.

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Beef and Lamb Markets Update

Beef

Cattle prices remain strong but fell back throughout March and are just below 2023 levels.  However, prices appear to be stabilising now.  The GB deadweight prime all steer price for the week ending 13th April 2024 stood at 487.5p per kg; compared with 490.8 p per kg for the same week in 2024.  The cull cow price has climbed steadily since the turn of the year, from 316.9p per kg at the start of 2024 to 356p per kg for the week ending 13th April.  Even so, it is still some 27p per kg below last year’s record levels.  GB slaughterings are estimated to be up on the year, with prime supplies seeing a 2.7% (13,100 head) growth on the year-to-date.  But prices are being supported by demand, which is reported to be good ahead of the summer BBQ season.  Furthermore, Irish cattle prices have been trending up over recent weeks due to firm demand adding further support to GB beef values.

Sheep

The GB sheep market has experienced some exceptional prices over the spring.  Following a slight dip a couple of weeks ago, prices have increased again; the GB deadweight SQQ overall price for the week ending 13th April rose by 21p per kg on the week to 850.7p per kg, compared with 636.3p per kg in 2023.  Prices have remained strong post-Easter supported by tight supplies.  The AHDB estimates slaughterings to be down by 7.6% (238,000 head) for the year-to-date.  The wet weather is also impacting finishing of hoggs and will mean spring lambs are likely to take longer to come to market.

Looking ahead, the AHDB has updated its domestic sheep meat production for the year.  It is now estimating supplies to fall by -1.4% to 282,000 tonnes (previously -1%).  The update follows the lastest livestock numbers from Defra, which reports a larger decline in the breeding flock.  In turn, the lamb crop, which was previously forecast to increase by 2%, is now expected to decline by -1.2% compared with last season and this doesn’t take into account any impacts from Schmallenberg or Bluetongue virus.

However, the carryover of old season lambs from 2023 to 2024, although still down on the year, is not expected to drop by as much; the fall in carry-over is now estimated at -4.3%, compared with the previous figure of -10%.  This is due to the assumption that more ewe lambs, previously expected to go into the breeding flock, will be slaughtered.  In terms of new season lamb slaughterings in the first six months of the year, this is now expected to be around 1.57m head (previously 1.6m).  Slaughter in the second half of the year assumes a typical pattern and is forecast to be 6.4m head (previously 6.6m); growth of just under 1% compared with the same period in 2023.  Adult sheep slaughterings across the year are forecast to fall by -3%.  The revised forecast show supplies tightening and whereas, previously, the increase in product in the second half of the year could have put downward pressure on prices, this has reduced.  The main concern for the sector will be from reduced consumer demand because of a switch to cheaper meats.

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial.

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Farming Focus – April 2024

In the April 2024 edition of Farming Focus see which SFI Actions Defra has placed an area limit on.  Farmers in England do not have to apply for the BPS this year, but do not forget ES and CS revenue claims.  Elsewhere in the UK the usual 15th May deadline remains for BPS/SAF applications.  We remind English farmers that all strands of the equipment and technology grants are now open and that hedgerow protection remains the same under new legislation now cross compliance has gone.  We also give a summary of agricultural rents in England and report on the cabinet reshuffle in Wales.  A reminder that the UK Minimum Wages rise as from 1st April and report that Red Tractor has officially announced the Greener Farms Commitment module has been dropped.

The Spotlight article this month takes a look at Defra’s latest Farm Business Income (FBI) figures by farm type. There have been some big drops for Cereals, General Cropping and Dairy Farms.

Click Here to access our April 2024 edition of Farming Focus.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – March 2024

In the March 2024 edition of Farming Focus we take at look at Rishi Sunak’s announcements at the NFU Conference, including a doubling of the SFI Management Payment.  We notify readers that it is now possible to transfer delinked (BPS) payments if necessary.  We also discuss the latest profitability figures for our Friesian Farm model.  In Wales the Woodland Creation grant is now open until November, have a look to see the application windows for other Welsh schemes.  Finally we remind English farmers that the Improving Farm Productivity Grant is open until 21st March; please contact one of our consultants if you require any help in apply for this grant.

The Spotlight article this month takes a look at the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) which is expected to open shortly.  The guidance is already available and we provide links to the equipment (including new items) which are available under three themes in this Round.

Click Here to access our March 2024 edition of Farming Focus.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – February 2024

In the February 2024 edition of Farming Focus we notify readers that the Improving Farm Productivity grant, including solar is now open in England.  We confirm BNG rules are required from 12th February and also take a look at what is happening regarding Nutrient Neutrality.  Frustrated waiting for RPA to make changes to your land parcels? Read how a new online system is set to speed the process up.  Welsh organic farmers will be pleased to read of support available this year.  Have your say on free-range egg legislation, the Government is consulting on rules surrounding mandatory housing and egg labelling.  We also report that the long awaited Statutory Instrument (SI) on milk contracts will be laid before parliament in February and that there has finally been an agreement over the sugar beet contract for the 2024 crop.  And remaining with sugar beet, Defra has confirmed emergency use of a neonicotinoid seed treatment will be allowed if thresholds of virus yellows are reached.

The Spotlight article this month takes a look at our Meadow Farm model.  Meadow Farm is a mixed family farm, typical of many across the country, but it struggles to make a profit without the help of the BPS.  See how we have retsructured Meadow Farm to make it more sustainable for the future.

Click Here to access our February 2024 edition of Farming Focus.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – January 2024

In the January 2024 edition of Farming Focus we notify readers that grants for Improving Farm Productivity, including solar are due to open in January in England.  We confirm the sugar beet price contract for 2024 has (finally) been agreed and report on the BPS 2023 rates for English claimants.  Also in England, the cross-compliance rules ended on 31st December 2023 – What does this mean for you?  In Wales the second stage of the Enhanced Nutrient Management approach has been laid before the Senedd, read what this means for Welsh farmers.  Are you reliant on migrant workers?  What could the proposed changes to immigration rules mean for your business?  Finally, read about the Government’s announcements on ‘Protected Landscapes‘ including a name change for ANOBs and another round of the NEIRF now being open.

We have two Spotlight articles this month.  The first one looks at more details on the proposed Sustainble Farming Scheme (SFS) which the Welsh Government is now consulting on and the second Spotlight article focuses on the recent annoucement by Defra on a combined SFI/CS offering from summer 2024.

Click Here to access our January 2024 edition of Farming Focus.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – December 2023

In the December 2023 edition of Farming Focus we take a look at the latest Farm Business Income figures for England covering 2022/23 and how the first couple of months of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme have gone.  Defra has also announced that the Slurry Infrastructure Grant Online Checker is now open; get in touch if you require advice on applying.  For farmers in Wales we have included advanced notice of the application dates for various grants available for the industry.  We finish this edition with news that the EU has re-approved the authorisation of Glyphosate and what this could mean for UK farmers.

The Spotlight article this month focuses on Delinked BPS Payments and what this means for businesses.

Click Here to access our December 2023 edition of Farming Focus.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – November 2023

In the November 2023 edition of Farming Focus we update readers on the SFI – there is no requirement to send in an EoI now.  Please contact one of our consultants if you would like help in submitting an application; payments are already being received under SFI 2023.  All SFI 2022 agreement holders have been notified of termination, please get in touch if you want to switch to SFI 2023.  Do you want to collaborate with other farmers to improve the environment, if so, read about a further round of the CS Facilitation Fund just opened.  Is your HLS due to expire in 2024?  You may be offered a further 4-year extension.  We include notice of proposals from the AHDB to increase Levy rates.  We report on Welsh advanced BPS payments and also on the disappointing news that no agricultural trades have been included on the latest Shortage Occupation List.  Read about legislation to ensure imports of seeds and sprays from the EU can continue and the lack of agreement on the beet price for the 2024 crop.  Finally have your say on changes to the Cattle Tracing System (CTS), a consultation is now open.

The Spotlight article this month reports on the Slurry Infrastructure Grant which is opening for Round 2 sometime this month (November).  Guidance is already available and there have been some changes since Round 1.

Click Here to access our November 2023 edition of Farming Focus.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – October 2023

In the October 2023 edition of Farming Focus we report on ‘accelerated payments‘ for the early SFI adopters and the opening of the new Calf Housing Grant.  If you require assistance with applying to either of these grants please get in touch with one of our consultants (details can be found below).  Ongoing technical problems means some CS Mid Tier applications are still outstanding.  We report on the delay to the introduction of the BNG requirement and on the House of Lords blocking the Government’s plans to scrap Nutrient Neutrality commitments; what does this mean for these markets?  Those blighted by footpaths through their farmyards may find it easier to get them diverted following new guidance.  The latest edition of the renowned John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook has just been published.  We also look into the loss of parallel spray imports and that the new interim environmental scheme in Wales is open for EOIs.

The Spotlight article this month looks at the latest budget and forecasts for The Andersons Centre’s Meadow Farm, a notional mixed farm set it the Midlands.

Click Here to access our October 2023 edition of Farming Focus.

There is also an opportunity to earn £20 by sharing your opinions on Biodiversity as part of a survey being undertaken by England Marketing on behalf of Osnabrück University and the James Hutton Institute.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – September 2023

In the September 2023 edition of Farming Focus we report on changes to the Nutrient Neutrality rules – what does this mean for farmers? The deadline for applications to Countryside Stewardship Mid Tier is now 15th September.  Those farming in Wales have their first ever Welsh Agriculture Act, read what this means.  We report on further delays to the implementation of post-Brexit border controls and on a further increase to the base rates, read how high forecasters think it will go.  CF Industries is closing its ammonia production facility, what does this mean for AN fertiliser in the UK?  We remind purchasers of AN fertiliser that photo ID is required as of 1st October.  Finally read about support for the Welsh food and drinks industry.

The Spotlight article this month looks at the latest developments with the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) including rule changes, when it will be open for applications and how to submit an expression of interest in SFI 2023.

Click Here to access our September 2023 edition of Farming Focus.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – August 2023

In the August 2023 edition of Farming Focus we report that most English farmers should have received 50% of their 2023 BPS payment.  Do you have a 2022 SFI Agreement?  If so, read why Defra will be writing to you.  For those wanting to enter SFI 2023, you may have to wait until October to apply.  We report on a new interim agri-environment scheme for Welsh farmers and on recent announcements from the Welsh Government on the Sustainable Farming SchemeCross Compliance ends in England next year, what does this mean for farmers?  Finally, we report on the decline in fertiliser use due to price rises and on the future of Glyphosate.

The Spotlight article this month looks at the new Calf Housing Grant.  Defra has released more details ahead of the scheme opening, which is expected shortly.

Click Here to access our August 2023 edition of Farming Focus.

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/

Farming Focus – July 2023

In the July 2023 edition of Farming Focus we report on the upcoming grant funding in England including large-scale capital grants, calf housing, barn-top solar and another round of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant.  We take a look at the recent rise in UK Base Rates and at how productive UK agriculture has been.  We report on the change in area of land farmed organically and on the AHDB’s proposed increase in levy rates.  Are you interested in driving nature recovery?  Read about the next round of the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund which is being targeted at groups of farmers.  Thinking about planting trees in Wales?  Take a look, the final grant window for this year opens shortly with increased payment rates.  Do you farm in the English Uplands?  Read how Defra has equalised stewardship rates for upland and lowland farms for certain options.

The Spotlight article this month looks at the latest announcement from Defra on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), including all the options available, together with payment rates.

Click Here to access our July 2023 edition of Farming Focus.

UK Feed Supplements White Paper Study

The Andersons Centre (Andersons) is undertaking a white paper study on key trends in the UK grazing livestock feed supplements’ market. As part of this research, we are seeking input from grazing livestock farmers on current usage of feed supplements, purchasing behaviour, key drivers of decision-making and how future changes are likely to shape how feed supplements are used. The survey takes 15-20 minutes to complete. All input will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and no information or opinion provided will be sourced individually to any participant or to any participant’s organisation. As a gesture of our thanks for your input, we are offering a complimentary copy of the John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook. To be eligible for a complimentary copy, all sections of the survey must be completed. The survey closes on 7th July. You can participate in the survey via: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CQ9ZRFG

If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  Their contact details can be obtained by clicking here. Alternatively, your can also contact our office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]

If you would like more detail on the topics covered above as well as additional articles on UK farm business matters, why not subscribe to our Professional Update bulletin? Over the course of each month, we give a concise and unbiased commentary on the key issues affecting business performance in the UK agri-food industry, and its implications for farming and food businesses. Please click on the link below for a 90-day free trial:

https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/publications/abc-professional-update/