Farming Focus InBrief – May 2022

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • The Lump Sum Exit Scheme is now open for applications. The Scheme is open until 30th September 2022 and is not expected to be available for applications in future years. It allows English farmers to take their future BPS payments through to 2027 in a single Lump Sum. In return, farmers will have to transfer out (rent, sell or surrender their tenancy) the agricultural land that was at their disposal on 17th May 2021. Up to 5 hectares of agricultural land can be retained, also any non-agricultural land and buildings including the farmhouse. The payment will be based on the average BPS payment received by the business for the three years 2019-2021 (the reference period). This will be capped at £42,500 and multiplied by 2.35, meaning the maximum payment will be just under £100,000. The full scheme guidance and application forms can be found via https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/lump-sum-exit-scheme. For further information please go to our article published in February.
  • In response to rocketing prices of fertiliser, Defra has announced three measures to help farmers with their nutrient management.
    • Urea: The planned ban on the use of urea fertiliser has been scrapped. Instead, an industry-run voluntary scheme will aim to reduce the ammonia emissions from solid urea fertiliser, commencing in 2023. This will be delivered through the Red Tractor farm assurance scheme and FACTS advisers.
    • Farming Rules for Water: Defra has released ‘revised and improved’ statutory guidance on applying the Farming Rules for Water. The de facto ban on autumn manure spreading, based on how the rules were being enforced, has been removed. The Farming Rules for Water have not been amended. Instead, the new guidance tells the Environment Agency about criteria that they should consider when assessing if enforcement action should be taken under the regulations. It also provides some clarity for farmers as to how to manage the use of slurry and other manures during autumn and winter.‎
    • Slurry Storage: The final Defra announcement was a confirmation that grants for slurry stores will be available in England. This will come under the Farming Investment Fund. Little detail is currently known, but grants between £25K and £250K at a 50% rate are expected to be available to fund up to 6 months of slurry storage. Stores will need to be covered and it may be possible to cover existing stores. The scheme is expected to be competitive. If you need any advice on increasing or updating your storage, please get in touch.
  • The Welsh Government has announced it is making £227m of funding available over the next three years (2022-2024) to support Wales’ rural economy. This funding is in response to the ending of the EU Rural Development Programme (RDP), which will completely close in 2023. It will ensure continued support for the areas previously funded under the RDP such as environmental land management, capital equipment to improve productivity, nutrient management and on-farm storage. It will also provide support for organic farming and woodlands. Scheme details are still being drawn-up, but for 2022 £100m is being made available further details can be found at https://gov.wales/written-statement-funding-support-rural-economy-and-transition-sustainable-farming-scheme
  • Field trials of a genetically modified barley have been approved by Defra. The study will use gene-editing techniques to investigate the role of existing barley plant genes that interact with soil microbes. The aim is to make the plants more efficient users of soil nutrients and reduce the need for artificial fertilisers. The trials will take place over the next 5- years at 3 sites of the Crop Science Centre; a partnership between the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and the University of Cambridge.
  • The war in Ukraine has been the key driver of grain markets over the last two months and in the short-term it will continue to drive commodities and inputs. However, there are other factors also driving prices. Severe drought in parts of the US wheat belt has lowered US wheat crop condition ratings. In addition, the US maize crop is smaller as growers are opting for soyabeans over maize. The latest International Grains Council (IGC) supply and demand estimates, support the view of tight markets. World grain closing stocks are forecast to fall by 26.5 million tonnes from 2021/22 to 2022/23. But with the situation in Ukraine, all forecasts should be treated with caution.
  • The Bank of England increased the Base Rate by a further 0.25% on the 5th of May.  This takes the cost of borrowing from 0.75% to 1%.  This is another attempt to respond to increasing inflation which is being exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.  The Bank is tasked with keeping inflation at 2% but, according to the Bank’s own forecast, increases in prices would rise above 10% this year.  The rise in interest rates is meant to bring inflation back towards the target over the medium term.  Many forecasters believe that there will be at least another 0.25% price rise before the end of 2022, taking rates to 1.25%.

This month’s Spotlight looks at the recent Defra announcement on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI). Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – April 2022

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • Input prices were already high before the invasion of Ukraine but cost inflation has now been exacerbated. Between January 2021 and January 2022, the price of UK produced ammonium nitrate was up 145%, urea up 156%, and glyphosate up 307%.   Since the invasion, the value of ammonium nitrate has exceeded £900/t, up from £645/t in January.  The value of tractor diesel has also risen substantially, with some reports quoting 130p/l.  The high cost of inputs will challenge many businesses over the next 12 months and beyond.  The working capital of farms will be under significant pressure.  While the cost of outputs has risen, the level of cash required to operate has also increased rapidly.  Our Spotlight article looks how the rising costs are affecting our Model Farms.
  • The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, used the Spring Statement on the 23rd March to announce a number of policies designed to mitigate the cost of living crisis.  The Statement came a day after the latest inflation figures were announced.  These showed year-on-year inflation in February (CPI measure) had risen to 6.8%. Even so, the 1.25% increase in National Insurance contributions will still be introduced in April, although the threshold at which it becomes payable will be increased to £12,570 (to come into force in July). The rate of fuel duty has been reduced by 5p/l and VAT on energy saving equipment (solar panels, heat pumps etc) has been cut to zero.  He also made the commitment to cut the basic rate of income tax by 1% to 19% by the end of the Parliament (2024).
  • Defra is consulting on binding environmental targets for England which could have a significant effect on agriculture over the coming years. These include water quality, the area planted to woodland, halting species decline and the creation of wildlife-rich habitats outside of protected sites.
  • The Bank of England increased the Base Rate by a further 0.25% on the 17th March.  This takes the cost of borrowing from 0.5% to 0.75%.  This is a response to increasing inflation.  The Bank is tasked with keeping inflation at 2% but, according to the Bank’s own forecast, increases in prices will hit 8% this spring.  The rise in interest rates is meant to bring inflation back towards the target over the medium term.  Many forecasters believe that there will be two further 0.25% rises before the end of 2022, taking rates to 1.25%.
  • The 5th  Woodland Carbon Guarantee auction will take place from midday on Monday 9th May to midday on Sunday 15th May 2022.  Applications to take part in the next auction can be submitted now and need to be made by midnight on Sunday 24th April.  Woodland creation projects accepted into the Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme have the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units (WCUs) to the government every 5 or 10 years up to 2055/56.
  • It has been confirmed that Young Farmers and New Entrants will not be able to apply for entitlements from the National Reserve in England this year, except in respect of land which was leased, bought, or gifted prior to 17th May 2021. With De-linking of entitlements expected to take place in 2024 this is just another step in drawing the BPS to a close.
  • British Sugar has announced all contracts, irrespective of length, will receive at least £27 per tonne for the 2022/23 crop year.  The guaranteed £27 per tonne will apply to all beet for the crop which is about to be planted.  Any growers with a fixed contract price below this amount will have it raised to £27 per tonne.  Those whose contracts include a market bonus element will receive a guaranteed market bonus of £5.82, raising their price to £27 per tonne on delivery.  Any surplus beet for the 2022/23 crop will also be paid at £27 per tonne.
  • Defra has announced that the ’emergency’ authorisation of Syngenta’s Cruiser SB seed treatment for sugar beet has been granted for this year.  Used to control Yellow Virus, the use of the neonicotinoid is dependent on nine conditions being met.  This includes an initial threshold for use, meaning the seed treatment can only be used if the predicted Yellow Virus incidence is at or above 19% of the national crop on 1st March.  According to Defra, following what has been a relatively mild winter, modelling on 1st March predicted a 68% (!) level of virus incidence.  In 2018, 25% of the national sugar beet crop was lost to YV, with an estimated cost to processors and growers of £67 million.
  • A reminder that Countryside Stewardship (CS) is now open for applications (see https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/countryside-stewardship/). This includes the Higher-tier, Mid-Tier, Wildlife Offers and the stand-alone Capital Grant Scheme.  Many are having another look at CS, in part to try and retrieve some ‘lost’ BPS, but also because the domestic scheme has seen some improvements and flexibility.  Successful applications will commence 1st January 2023 and can be ended early where an ELM agreement has been approved.  Payments have been timelier and the penalty/inspection process less penal.  Most will have some areas on their holding that are less productive and could probably be entered into CS.  Please contact one of our consultants if you are considering CS, they can help you prepare and submit a cost-effective CS application but only if initial discussions conclude it is financially viable.
  • Our Special Edition in February also included details on the Lump Sum ‘retirement’ scheme which will be in operation this year only (see https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/lump-sum-payments/) Do not hesitate to contact one of our consultants if this is something that maybe of interest to your business and they can work through the details with you.
  • The Andersons Centre will be at Dairy Tech on Thursday 7th April.  Please join us on stand B50 where our consultants will be available to speak to. Please note that we will also be selling copies of the 52nd edition of the John Nix Pocketbook on the stand and there will be a 20% discount for purchases on the day.

This month’s Spotlight looks at the impact of cost inflation on two of our Model Farms Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – March 2022

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • The application window for the BPS in England will open on the 15th March and runs until the 16th May.  In the meantime, it is already possible to transfer land and entitlements online in England in readiness for this year’s BPS applications.  Claimants have until 16th May (the 15th is a Sunday) to complete the transactions.
  • For those who are taking place in the SFI Pilot, the payment rates have been revised.  Some of the payments have remained the same whilst others have increased.  Some Pilot agreements will have already started, others are still being agreed but the new payments will apply from the start of all agreements. The first batch of quarterly payments under the SFI Pilot have now been made to those participants whose agreements commenced on November 1st.    Not all applications had been processed by this initial start date but offers have been sent out on a regular basis since. 
  • The application window for the first round of Landscape Recovery pilot projects is now open and will close on 24th May 2022.  Landscape Recovery is the third component of ELM.  It is for farmers and land managers, including groups, who want to take a more radical and large-scale (500-5,000 Ha) approach to producing environment and climate goods on their land, such as establishing new nature reserves, restoring floodplains to help reduce the risks from flooding, or creating woodland and wetlands.  The first round will focus on species recovery and river restoration.
  • Defra has started to send out Agreements for the first round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF).  Agreements need to be accepted by midnight on 1st April (extended from 4th March), via the dedicated FETF acceptance portal.  Claimants then have until midnight on 31st October 2022 (also extended by one month) to buy and install the items and submit a claim for payment.
  • Defra has announced the new Slurry Investment Scheme will now be incorporated into the Farming Investment Fund and will not be a separate scheme. Further details should be available through the spring, but it is expected grants to help farmers achieve 6 months slurry storage will be available in the autumn.
  • The Bank of England increased UK base rates on Thursday 3rd February from 0.25% to 0.50%.  This is in response to rising inflation.  Further increases are expected.
  • A reminder that Countryside Stewardship is now open for applications (see https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/countryside-stewardship/ ). This includes the Higher-tier, Mid-Tier, Wildlife Offers and the stand-alone Capital Grant Scheme.  Many are having another look at CS, in part to try and retrieve some ‘lost’ BPS, but also because the domestic scheme has seen some improvements and flexibility.  Successful applications will commence 1st January 2023 and can be ended early where an ELM agreement has been approved.  Payments have been timelier and the penalty/inspection process less penal.  Most will have some areas on their holding that are less productive and could probably be entered into CS.  Do not hesitate to contact one of our consultants if you are considering CS, they can help you prepare and submit a cost-effective CS application but only if initial discussions conclude it is financially viable.
  • Our Special Edition in February also included details on the Lump Sum ‘retirement’ scheme which will be in operation this year only (see https://theandersonscentre.co.uk/lump-sum-payments/) Do not hesitate to contact one of our consultants if this is something that maybe of interest to your business and they can work through the details with you.
  • Trade patterns for farm goods on the island of Ireland have changed significantly as a result of Brexit. Latest data from the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that total agri-food trade between Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (ROI) has increased significantly (by 42%) in 2021 versus 2020.  NI agri-food imports from ROI have increased by 47% with regulatory controls imposed on GB to NI trade as a result of the NI Protocol being the primary driver. Corresponding NI exports to ROI have also risen by 38% over the same period, showing that increased all-island agri-food trade is happening in both directions.

This month’s Spotlight looks at the impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having on the arable market Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – February 2022

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • Defra has released two policy papers giving more information on the Local Nature Recovery (LNR) and the Landscape Recovery (LR).  These are the other two components of ELM, the first being the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme.  The LNR will pay for locally targeted actions to ‘make space for nature alongside food production’.  More details can be found at – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-nature-recovery-more-information-on-how-the-scheme-will-work. The LR is for landowners and managers who want to take a more ‘radical and large-scale approach’ to producing environmental and climate goods on their land.  Agreements are expected to be long term; 20-years plus.  Defra will work with project managers to negotiate bespoke agreements.  See – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/landscape-recovery-more-information-on-how-the-scheme-will-work. Piloting will take place over the next 2 years with both schemes due to be fully in place by late 2024.  These two schemes will not be for the majority of farmers, the SFI will be the component for most who continue to farm commercially. 
  • The Countryside Stewardship revenue payment rates have been revised.  Most (over 100) have been increased, although a few (less than ten) have been reduced.  All the new rates can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/countryside-stewardship-revenue-payment-rates-from-1-january-2022/countryside-stewardship-payment-rates-for-revenue-options-from-1-january-2022.
  • The Improving Farm Productivity grant is now open for applications.  It is the second theme under the Farming Transformation Fund (the first one was Water Management).  The grant will pay up to 40% of the costs for robotic or autonomous equipment and systems to aid crop and livestock production including the installation of slurry acidification equipment. The minimum grant is £35,000 and the maximum is £500,000.  There is a two-stage application process between 19th January and 1st March 2022.  For further information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/farming-transformation-fund-improving-farm-productivity-grant.
  • Providers of the Future Farming Resilience Fund have been given until September to deliver support (originally March). The 19 providers have been given a six-month extension, although, not all have taken up all of this time and they can only take on a limited number of businesses so those interested should apply sooner rather than later.  The Andersons Centre (TAC), through Ricardo, will provide support until June. The advisors offer support in different ways.  Some are delivered via workshops or webinars; TAC offers free one-to-one business reviews and plans. We only have a few places left, please contact us to book a place or see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ricardo-future-farming-resilience-fund-29430290977
  • The Welsh Government is looking for farmers to take part in the co-design process of the new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).  It will take place in the summer of 2022 and requires farmers to provide ‘opinions on the practicality of proposed actions underpinning the SFS and the wider scheme structure and processes’.  Details of the SFS are due to be published in the first half of 2022 alongside the Welsh Agriculture Bill.  Once the co-design process has been undertaken the final SFS will be announced in 2023.  More details can be found at – https://gov.wales/register-have-your-say-wales-future-farming-scheme.
  • The Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS), now just called the Seasonal Workers Scheme, will continue for 2022 with the same number of places as last year (30,000), although this can be increased by 10,000 if necessary.  But it will then taper down in 2023 and 2024 and disappear completely by 2025.
  • Defra has granted an emergency authorisation (dependent on 9 conditions) of Syngenta’s Cruiser SB seed treatment on sugar beet crops, in England, for the control of Yellow Virus for 2022.
  • Defra is putting in place new legislation which should mean plant-based research and development using Gene Editing (GE) will be able to take place more easily. The legislation will apply to GE plants only (not animals).  GE is seen as a powerful tool to tackle food security, climate change and biodiversity loss through breeding plants that are resistant to diseases and climate change.  GE is different to GMO, it is used to create new varieties, similar to those which would have been produced more slowly through conventional breeding processes, by manipulating the coding to speed up the development of desirable traits, in contrast to GMO, where genes have been transferred between species (transgenic). 

This month’s Spotlight looks at the latest developments in Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)  Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – January 2022

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • A reminder that the first round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (the small-scale Farming Investment Fund (FIF)) closes on 7th January.   In addition, the first theme of the larger scale scheme, the Farming Transformation Fund closes on 12th January for grants to fund Water Management.  However, Defra has now published the manual for the second theme, Improving Farm Productivity.  This can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/about-the-improving-farm-productivity-grant.  The focus for this round is robotic or autonomous equipment and systems to aid crop and livestock production and also the installation of slurry acidification equipment.  The window to express an interest in this grant is due to open in mid-January.  The manual has been published now to give potential applicants time to consider their proposals.
  • Revised figures for Total Income from Farming (TIFF) for 2020 show total aggregate profits for farming were £5.121bn (real terms, 2020 prices).  This is an 8% drop from This is much better than initially reported.  The revision is largely down to farm diversification being less affected by Covid in 2020 than first estimated and the volume of seeds, fertilisers and sprays used in the year was lower than thought.  We had been forecasting that 2021 TIFF would be higher than 2020.  This is still the case, although the uplift in last year’s figures means the ‘rebound’ will be less pronounced.  Even so, it seems possible that aggregate UK farm profits for this year could reach the £6bn level which is at the upper end of the range of the recent decade.  With the large cost increases seen in recent months, it seems likely that 2022 will drop back again. 
  • The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was signed in December.  It is the first trade agreement negotiated independently by the UK in nearly 50 years and will set a precedent for other agreements.  The UK farming sector, particularly grazing livestock and sugar beet will be more exposed to competitive pressure from Australian imports in the long-termThe deal will now go before both the UK and Australian Houses of Parliament for further scrutiny and ratification. It could come into force as soon as mid-2022, but the process might take longer. 
  • The Government has published a review of how secure the nation’s food supply is – the UK Food Security Report (UKFSR).  The Agriculture Act requires such a review at least every three years and this is the first comprehensive study of the topic since the UK Food Security Assessment in 2010.  As the report itself states, food security is ‘a complex and multi-faceted issue’.  As such, the UKFSR does not come up with a simple answer such as ‘we are fine’ or ‘there’s a problem here’.  It is arranged around five themes with broad conclusions drawn under each heading.  The report runs to over 300 pages and presents a wide range of statistics plus case studies and qualitative analysis.  Overall, however, it paints a picture of the UK’s food security being reasonably robust.  For more details see – https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/united-kingdom-food-security-report-2021.
  • The English cross-compliance guidance for the 2022 scheme year has been published.  It can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guide-to-cross-compliance-in-england-2022 In summary, there have been no changes for 2022 so the rules remain the same as in the past couple of years.   The Welsh Government has also published its cross-compliance rules for 2022 (see https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2021-12/cross-compliance-verifiable-standards-2022.pdf). Again, these effectively show no change.
  • The Bank of England raised UK Base Rates from 0.1% to 0.25% on the 16th December.  This is in response to rapidly rising inflation with the year-on-year increase in prices accelerating from 3.1% in September to 5.1% in November (CPI measure).  Even with the threat of the Omicron variant to economic activity, many economic forecasters are predicting further base rate increases in 2022 as inflation pressure continues.  Rates of 1% by the end of 2022 look possible.
  • The Government has confirmed exports of British lamb to the US will resume in 2022.  The ‘Small Ruminants Rule’ which has been in place in the US for over 20 years, bans the imports of lamb from countries where scrapie has been identified.  After extensive evaluations, the USDA has amended this rule, which effectively means UK processors will be able to ship lamb to the US as from next year.  The amended rule came into force as from 3rd January and paves the way for Defra, DIT, and the UK food safety authorities to work with their counterparts in the US to complete the final steps. This will be a welcome boost to sheep farmers in the UK, the US market is forecast to be worth £37m over the first five years.  The news comes after President Biden committed to lifting the ban on British lamb back in September.
  • A reminder that the Future Farm Resilience Fund is now open. If you would like a one-to-one farm resilience review and report carried out by one of our consultants and access to online skills and training, including resilience planning webinars all for free get in touch with one of our consultants. Places are limited.  More information can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ricardo-future-farming-resilience-fund-29430290977.

This month’s Spotlight looks at the latest figures for our Friesian Farm Model  Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – December 2021

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • The Farming Investment Fund (FIF) is now open. It is designed to help farmers invest in new technology and equipment.  The scheme is similar to the previous Countryside Productivity Scheme including two elements – for small and large investments.  The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is the small-scale scheme.  This pays a fixed amount for specific items of equipment (usually 40% of the cost). Min. grant £2,000, max. £25,000.  The full list can be seen at  – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/farming-equipment-and-technology-fund-round-1-manual/annex-3-eligible-items-specification-and-grant-amount. This round of funding is open until the 7th January 2022.   The Farming Transformation Fund is for larger items of spending with grants of between £35,000 and £500,000 (again, based on a 40% grant rate). The grant funds projects in three areas; Water Management (open now), Improving Productivity (opening later this year) and Adding Value (opening early next year). Full details can be seen at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/farming-investment-fund
  • The latest Farm Business Income (FBI) figures show a surprising rise.  The data shows the profit for an average full-time farm in each of the main sectors of English farming.  The data is for the 2020/21 year (March to Feb) which covers the 2020 harvest, 2020 BPS payments and the first months of the Covid outbreak. All sectors, apart from General Cropping and Poultry showed higher year-on-year  profits.  And, overall, FBI rose by 5% on the year.
  • The Environment Bill finally received Royal Assent on the 9th November 2021.  The Act is likely to have a long-term impact on farming for many years.  However, the effects will not be immediate, detailed provisions (in most cases) will need to be introduced through secondary legislation.  One of the main areas to impact agriculture will be the setting of long-term, legally enforceable, targets (for Government) for the improvement of air quality, water, waste reduction and biodiversity.
  • Details of how the BPS Lump Sum payment and Delinking are to work were expected in October, but Defra has announced these will now be delayed and has said they will be available ‘by the end of 2021’.  As the Lump Sum exit scheme is expected to open in 2022 and is only supposed to be a ‘one-off’ this will give anyone hoping to take advantage of this and their advisors very little time to get to grips with the detail and understand the rules. 
  • The results from the annual Early Bird Survey of UK planting intentions for harvest 2022 shows a rise in both the OSR and wheat area. The former by 13% to 345,000 ha, with the latter up by only 1.5% to 1.81m ha (1.82m ha 2019 levels).  The fallow area also shows an increase, but surprisingly, given the price of N, the area planted to pulses is forecast to decline by 5%.  Both the oat and barley areas are also expected to fall.  The total barley area intended to be planted is down by 4%. However, winter barley is expected to increase, but spring barley plantings are forecast to fall by a larger amount (-8%).  It is worth highlighting at this stage these figures represent intentions, rather than confirmed plantings.  Spring acreages are still very much open to change, dependent on the price of both outputs and inputs (especially this season). 
  • There have been multiple reported cases of Avian Flu over the last month and a number of 3km Protection Zones and 10km Surveillance Sites have been put in place across the country.  It is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of the disease. All the latest information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu
  • The Welsh Government has announced a 12-week consultation period on proposed changes to the Bovine TB eradication programme.  The full consultation, which can be found at https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/consultations/2021-11/refreshed-tb-consultation-document.pdf
  • A reminder that the Future Farm Resilience Fund is now open. If you would like a one-to-one farm resilience review and report carried out by one of our consultants and access to online skills and training, including resilience planning webinars all for free get in touch with one of our consultants. Places are limited.  More information can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ricardo-future-farming-resilience-fund-29430290977

This month’s Spotlight looks at the latest detail and payment rates for the Sustainable Farming Incentive 2022 (SFI 2022).  This is the initial element of the SFI and will be available next year  Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – November 2021

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • The English BPS payment rates for 2021 have been published by Defra. The gross rates have increased slightly but the effect of the Agricultural Transition will see farmers receive less than last year.  All payments are being reduced by at least 5% (shown in the table below as the ‘net’ figures).  Those with a payment over £30,000 will face larger deductions – up to 25% on amounts over £150,000.
  • The Welsh Government paid the vast majority of farmers an advance of 70% on their 2021 BPS payments on the 15th October.  Around 97% of claimants received the advance.  The balancing payments will be sent from the 15th December.
  • In the second Budget of 2021, the Chancellor set out the Government’s tax and spending plans with the twin aims of stabilising the Government’s finances post-Covid and promoting the ‘levelling-up agenda’. The latest economic forecasts predict economic growth in 2021 will be 6.5%.  Growth in 2022 is put at 6.0% before falling to 2.1% in 2023.  The biggest economic issue in 2022 looks set to be inflation.  The forecast for CPI is a rate of 2.3% for 2021.  For 2022 the OBR has a central forecast of 4% and there is a strong chance it could be as much as 5%. There was relatively little in the budget that directly impacts farming.  The rise in the National Living Wage plus the 1.25% supplement on National Insurance will further push up labour costs and the Annual Investment Allowance has been kept at £1m.
  • Ahead of COP 26, the UK set out how it will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050 in its Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener. It sets out plans across all sectors of the UK economy.  But instead of measures to cut meat and dairy as previously recommended by the Climate Change Committee and the National Food Strategy, the emphasis is on getting farmers to sign up to the new ELM scheme, improve efficiencies in the sector, restore peatlands and increase the planting of woodlands.
  • The UK and New Zealand have announced an agreement in principle on a Free Trade Deal (FTA).  The deal is similar in nature to the UK-Australia trade deal announced back in June and like the Australian FTA, the UK-NZ FTA is subject to further negotiations on the legal text.  Whilst there is an eventual aspiration to fully liberalise agri-food trade, there are adjustment periods for several agri-food products which the UK deems to be sensitive – notably beef, lamb and dairy products.
  • It is reported that the fertiliser producer, CF Industries, will continue to operate its plants in the UK after buyers of carbon dioxide (CO2) agreed to pay higher prices.  The deal operates until January.  This means that ammonium nitrate manufacture will continue for at least the next couple of months (ironically, now as a by-product of CO2 production).  Although this eases some of the concerns about availability, fertiliser prices are likely to be high given gas prices.
  • What is claimed to be Europe’s largest oat processing facility is being built in the East Midlands.  Sited next to Camgrain’s existing store between Corby and Kettering, the plant will supply oat-based ingredients for the food and drink industry.  The mill will be run by ‘Navara Oat Milling’, a three-way joint venture between Frontier Agriculture, Camgrain, and Anglia Maltings Holdings (AMH).  The plant is due to open in 2023.
  • Arable prices are high due to tight markets. The dry conditions experienced by S America last year are continuing and the ongoing La Niña could cause low wheat output from the region again this year.  UK wheat production has recovered but with low stocks, domestic supply will be  OSR supplies are also very low with prices about £215/t more than a year ago.  Only supplies of barley outweigh demand.
  • The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on changes on how to identify, register and report livestock movements together with the proposed implementation of Bovine Electronic Identification (EID).  Responses to the consultation need to be submitted by 2nd January 2022.  The full consultation can be found at https://gov.wales/changes-livestock-identification-registration-and-movement 
  • The problems in the pig sector remain critical. Prices are falling at a time when costs are soaring.  Brexit and Covid have compounded staff shortages, particularly of skilled butchers, which continues to affect throughput in processing plants.  Labour issues have seen some processing plants cutting back output by 25% per week since August.  The result being pigs remaining on farm, taking up room, and eating expensive feed. The Government appears to have finally recognised the industry has hit a crisis point and, in a move welcomed by the sector, it has announced a support package to include; Private Storage Aid, a Temporary Visa system and a Levy Holiday.
  • A reminder that the Future Farm Resilience Fund is now open. If you would like a one-to-one farm resilience review and report carried out by one of our consultants and access to online skills and training, including resilience planning webinars all for free get in touch with one of our consultants. Places are limited.  More information can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ricardo-future-farming-resilience-fund-29430290977

This month’s Spotlight looks at the Animal Health & Welfare Pathway.  The first element of this is the Annual Health and Welfare Review which will be available in 2022 and will pay for farmers’ own vets to carry out a yearly Review including diagnostic testing for priority diseases.  Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – October 2021

  • If you require advice from one of our consultants, do not hesitate to contact them by email or phone.  If you do not have their details please contact the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected]
  • Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have all recently announced updates to their future farm policies, although none have given any clear proposals for new schemes or timings. However, we do know, in all the regions the BPS will continue in the short term whilst plans continue to be developed and consulted on.  Furthermore, the Welsh Government has confirmed the BPS will continue until 2023. It has also said existing Glastir contracts coming to an end in December 2021 will be given a two-year extension until the end of 2023 with the Farming Connect Programme continuing until March 2023.  The new Sustainable Farming Scheme which will replace the BPS and Glastir is expected to launch fully in 2025.
  • The UK Government has, once again, delayed the implementation of border controls on agri-food imports from the EU.  The postponement is blamed on the combined effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and food supply-chain issues, but it is equally a result of the Hard Brexit the Government negotiated.  Many of the checks and paperwork requirements were due to be fully implemented from the 1st October, but have been delayed until the New Year or later. This effectively retains the lop-sided situation where UK exports to the EU are subject to the full range of EU checks, whilst imports from the EU are currently allowed into our market with far fewer restrictions. 
  • Defra is giving a ‘heads-up’ that the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund will open in England for a 6th round in December.  The fund supports facilitators, either individuals or organisations, to bring farmers and foresters together to produce landscape-scale Countryside Stewardship agreements.  A total of £2.5m will be available under the latest round, which will close to applications on 19th January 2022.  Further details expected soon.
  • The sugar beet price for the 2022 crop will be £27 per adjusted tonne.  This is a significant increase over the price for this year’s crop of £21.10 and £22.00 on the one-year and three-year contracts respectively.  This will be a flat-rate price, with no market related bonus as has been available recently. The fact that the announcement comes so late highlights the difficulty the two parties had in reaching a price agreement.  With buoyant prices for alternative crops and growing costs rising, a sizeable uplift was required to keep the area planted up.  The Virus Yellows insurance scheme, will continue for 2022.
  • Defra has given Rothamsted Research permission to run field trials on wheat that has been genome edited. The trials will be on CRISPR-edited wheat, which has been designed to have reduced levels of the naturally occurring amino acid, asparagine.  Asparagine turns into acrylamide when bread is baked or toasted which has been found to cause cancer in rodents and is considered as ‘probably carcinogenic’ to humans and is therefore a huge problem for food manufacturers.  It is expected the Government will propose allowing gene editing to be used commercially in the UK for both crops and livestock, following a consultation held this year.
  • Arable markets remain firm. Over 6m tonnes of wheat have already been traded with the EU, over 50% more than this time last year, pushing prices upwards.  Demand from China is fuelling buying from speculators, which in turn is increasing the volatility in the market.  Furthermore, there are reports Russia may impose an export tax on its grains, making global supply tighter.  Dry weather in Canada has reduced yields there, fuelling OSR prices.  Barley prices are also good, just a £7 per tonne discount to wheat with milling oats about £20 per tonne above feed oats.
  • The GDT average price index experienced a significant rise in September after consecutive declines since April and is now back above the $4,000 mark at $4,011. There is a general upturn in the global dairy commodities market, although still a little way off levels seen in the spring.  A ‘fly in the ointment’ could be a slow-down in demand from China but reports of a shift in demand from other parts of Asia and the Middle East could compensate for this.  Domestic Farmgate milk prices remain strong.  The average farmgate milk price for August is 31.24ppl, 11% more than last year.  But production has been falling due to poor grass growth.  The AHDB expects production to run below year earlier levels until the New Year.  Although the milk price is good, feed prices remain high meaning the milk to feed price ration will not encourage more production.  Rising labour and energy costs are also squeezing margins.
  • Farmgate beef and sheep prices remain strong. The GB all prime cattle deadweight average stands about 40ppkg above last year’s level.  The GB deadweight NSL SQQ is in the region of 60ppkg above 2020 prices and over £1 per kg higher than the 5-year average.  Supporting prices is tight supply.  The prime cattle and cow kills were both down by 4% and 5% respectively for the period January to August compared with 2020.  The UK monthly sheep meat production has been below last year and the 5-year average for every month so far this year, with July and August experiencing particularly sharp year-on-year declines.  In the period January to August, the lamb kill totals 7,255,200 head, almost 900,000 less than for the same period in 2020. 
  • A reminder that the Future Farm Resilience Fund is now open. If you would like a one-to-one farm resilience review and report carried out by one of our consultants and access to online skills and training, including resilience planning webinars all for free get in touch with one of our consultants. Places are limited.  More information can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ricardo-future-farming-resilience-fund-29430290977
  • FPC Future, an agritech event, takes place on 4th November at the Lincolnshire Showground. With its exhibition, conference and tours of the University of Lincoln, it seeks to provide growers with all the agritech information they need. This event should be of interest to those looking at opportunities in the fresh produce sector as well as ascertaining how new technologies could boost productivity by helping their workforce to become more efficient. Registration is free – www.fpcfuture.co.uk

This month’s Spotlight looks at the situation regarding the surge in gas prices and the knock on effect on the fertiliser market and the wider food chain.   Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – September 2021

  • Andersons’ consultants are continuing to support their clients during the pandemic. If you require any advice, please contact your  usual consultant, or the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected].
  • The deadline for applications to the Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFI) Pilot has been extended until 30th September 2021 (originally 1st September).  The Pilot is for those who expressed an interest in the scheme earlier in the year.  Furthermore, Defra continues to make amendments to the online guidance for the SFI Pilot.  There seems to be a lot of guidance, we think the best place to start and ‘navigate’ from is https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sustainable-farming-incentive-pilot-guidance. The extension might suggest that not as many have signed-up to the scheme as Defra hoped.  If you expressed an interest in the scheme earlier in the year and would like help with applying, do not hesitate to contact one of our consultants.
  • Farmers in Scotland could receive 95% of their 2021 BPS payment as early as September.  Once again, Scotland has announced it will be running a National Basic Payment Support Scheme.  This will mean loan offers will be made, calculated at 95% of a claimant’s anticipated BPS payment including the Greening amount, capped at a maximum of £133,638 (€150,000).  Letters will be sent out in batches, with the first set arriving from mid-August.  Similar to the scheme in 2020, those wishing to make use of the scheme will need to opt in.  Balance payments will be made from December 2021 when the payment window opens. In Wales, the aim is to make a BPS advance payment of 70% of the estimated claim value from 15th October 2021.  Payment will be made automatically subject to submission of an eligible BPS claim and the necessary supporting documents.  Balancing payments will be made from 15th December subject to completion of the full validation of the claim.  In England there has been no announcement regarding ‘early’ payment.  As in previous years payments are expected to commence on 1st December 2012
  • Covid and Brexit disruptions are impacting on costs and availability in some parts of the economy. Rising costs of steel and timber from global demand and restricted production are also affecting building projects.  Globally, costs for containers and bulk shipping have risen considerably.  At home a shortfall of HGV drivers is causing problems.  An existing shortfall has been exacerbated by EU drivers leaving due to a combination of Brexit and Covid.  Covid has also delayed HGV driving tests meaning few new drivers are coming through.  High-profile shortages such as Nando’s chicken and McDonalds milkshakes have already been reported (although the former is as much about a shortage of poultry processing staff as transport issues).  There are few reports of deliveries to and from farms being affected, but it will be an area of concern over the coming months.  It may be advisable not to let stocks on farm run too low as orders may take longer to arrive than usual and haulage of grain or livestock may have to be booked earlier.
  • Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship agreement holders with 5-year options ending on 31st December 2021 and further 10 or 20-year options (called CS 5 in 10 Agreements) could be offered a replacement agreement under domestic regulations. These will run for 10 or 20 years and although not completely clear, it appears the options coming to their 5-year end will be extended so this land continues to be managed environmentally.  NE will carry out initial assessments to see if an agreement is suitable for a replacement.  If this is deemed to be the case, the RPA will write to agreement holders inviting them to apply.  It will be possible to terminate a replacement agreement early, without penalty, at the end of an agreement year if a place in ELM has been secured. 
  • Defra has confirmed the Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative is to be expanded to cover the whole of England by March 2023. The programme gives farmers support to reduce air and water pollution.  Some funding via CS is only available with support from a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer (CSFO) and if the land is in a priority catchment area.  It is unclear whether this announcement will mean the whole of England now falls within this category and these grants are available to all. There will be extra funding for more NE advisors to be available to help farmers implement practical solutions to reduce pollution.  But it will also fund 50 new EA inspectors to carry out an increased number of farm inspections.
  • The Farm Business Grant (FBG) opened in Wales on 1st September 2021 for expressions of interest.  The closing date is 1st October and successful applicants will have four months in which to purchase and claim for items.  The FBG provides a 40% contribution towards capital items which have been pre-identified to improve technical, financial and environmental performance.  A budget of £2m is available under this round.
  • A reminder that the Future Farm Resilience Fund is now open. If you would like a one-to-one farm resilience review and report carried out by one of our consultants and access to online skills and training, including resilience planning webinars all for free get in touch with one of our consultants. Places are limited.     More information can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ricardo-future-farming-resilience-fund-29430290977
  • FPC Future, an agritech event, takes place on 4th November at the Lincolnshire Showground. With its exhibition, conference and tours of the University of Lincoln, it seeks to provide growers with all the agritech information they need. This event should be of interest to those looking at opportunities in the fresh produce sector as well as ascertaining how new technologies could boost productivity by helping their workforce to become more efficient. Registration is free – www.fpcfuture.co.uk

This month’s Spotlight looks at the latest the latest situation regarding the spreading of organic manure this autumn and the impact of the Farming Rules for Water.   Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – August 2021

  • Andersons’ consultants are continuing to support their clients during the pandemic. If you require any advice, please contact your  usual consultant, or the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected].
  • The Future Farm Resilience Fund opens this month (August) in England and will run until March 2022. It is designed to provide business support to farmers during the early years of the Agricultural Transition.  Nineteen organisations have been awarded funding to deliver a variety of business support, which will be free of charge.  This initial phase will be fed-in to design the final scheme which will run from 2022 to 2024.  Andersons, in partnership with Ricardo are one of the organisations delivering support and will offer one-to-one farm resilience reviews, resilience planning webinars and access to online skills and training.  If you would like some free business support to help plan for the future, more information can be found at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/ricardo-future-farming-resilience-fund-29430290977 or contact one of our consultants to sign up.
  • Defra has confirmed the new Farming Investment Fund (FIF) will open for applications in October this year. This is for capital items and is expected to be similar to the previous Countryside Productivity Small Grant scheme, where a 40% grant was available for pre-identified capital items.
  • A new Welsh Agriculture Bill is to be laid before the Senedd this autumn.  It will contain the powers to enact the new Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS).  The Welsh Government has suggested the new support scheme should start in 2024 (although this is not 100% certain).  The Bill is unlikely to give details of how the SFS will work in practice, this is still being worked on.  Instead, it will set the legal framework under which the scheme will operate.
  • It was announced by the AHDB at the Cereals Event that the levy board was working in collaboration with Defra to produce an industry-standard carbon calculator for farming.  The aim is to have a tool available for the start of 2023. There is a plethora of different carbon calculators being used in UK farming at present, all with different methodologies and producing different results.  In addition, an industry group has been granted funding to develop a Farm Soil Carbon Code.  This would be similar to the existing Woodland and Peatland Codes, providing a set of formal protocols that would allow farmers to quantify and verify reduced greenhouse gas emissions and/or soil carbon capture as a result of adopting regenerative farming practices.  The lack of a formal standard is one of the issues holding back the development of a market in carbon offsetting in farming.
  • Defra and Natural England have announced the potential creation of two new AONBs, plus the extension of two existing ones.  The new ones are a Yorkshire Wolds AONB and a Cheshire Sandstone Ridge AONB.  The extensions are to Surrey Hills and the Chilterns.  Unhelpfully, the statement (see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/natural-england-announces-landmark-new-programme-for-protected-landscapes) gives no details on the precise areas to be covered by the designations.  A consultation is promised later in the year.
  • The second part of the National Food Strategy has been released. Whilst the recommendation of a sugar and salt tax made headline news, other recommendations directly affect farming more.  Such as guaranteeing the budget for Agricultural payments until at least 2029 and ring fencing some of the money to put towards schemes which would fund taking out of production 20% of the least productive land to create environmentally friendly landscapes.
  • British Sugar has announced the beet price for the 2022 season will be a minimum of £25.   This compares to £21.10 being paid for the current crop (under one-year contract terms).  The idea behind the company releasing an ‘indicative’ price before negotiations are complete seems to be to persuade growers to keep beet in the rotation as they plan their cropping decisions. The NFU is holding out for a higher contract price.  In recent years a contract price has not been announced until September.
  • According to the AHDB’s 2021 Planting and Variety Survey, GB winter wheat plantings have recorded a year-on-year rise of 26% to 1,742K hectares.  Every region recorded a rise in plantings. In contrast, the total GB barley area has recorded an 18% year-on-year fall to 1,119K hectares as growers ‘correct’ their rotations from their enforced spring cropping regime last season.  The winter barley area rose 15% to 350K hectares, with spring barley plantings recording a 28% fall on the year to 769K hectares; still quite historically high.  58% of the GB barley area is of a malting variety. The area of oats has risen by 1%, whilst OSR plantings have fallen by a further 15% since last year.  This makes the cropped area the lowest since 1989 (including spring OSR).  Ironically, crops look good this year and those growing it look like being rewarded with a high gross margin so it may encourage a small resurgence of OSR for 2022.
  • The UK potato crop escaped the storms which hit mainland Europe, but conditions are ideal for blight. New crop prices have been supported as stocks have been slow to the market.  Easing of Covid-19 restrictions has seen an increase in demand for processing and chipping potatoes.  The warm weather has helped demand for salad, but less so for maincrop packing types.  The loss of data from AHDB means it is difficult to know the area planted in the UK.  World Potato Markets initially assumed a 5% decline, but it may be less.  Any decline would result in one of the smallest crops ever; an average yield would mean a crop of just over 5mt.  Planting in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands is estimated to be down by 4.5% to less than 500,000ha, with up to 20,000ha impacted by storms, although some should be salvageable.

This month’s Spotlight looks at the latest information released on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI).  This is the first component of ELM. This initial phase of SFI will open for applications in 2022 Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – July 2021

  • Andersons’ consultants are continuing to support their clients during the pandemic. If you require any advice, please contact your  usual consultant, or the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected].
  • The UK and Australia have agreed the outline terms of an historic free-trade agreement – the first all-new deal signed by the UK since it left the EU.  As such, it is seen by many as an important precedent for future trade deals, particularly concerning agriculture.  Whilst the deal has been announced, it is an agreement in principle and subject to further negotiations on the legal text. There is an eventual aspiration to fully liberalise Australian goods entering the UK market.  However, there are lengthy adjustment periods for most agricultural products – up to fifteen years for beef and lamb. But the UK grazing livestock and sugar sectors in particular will be exposed to increased competition from Australia in the long-term.  Additional competitive pressure is likely to emerge when the likes of New Zealand and others strike trade deals with the UK.  Of course, having generous quota access with eventual full liberalisation does not necessarily mean that Australian imports will reach these levels, particularly as there is plenty of demand in Asia-Pacific and the UK is a long way from Australia.  But the access offered to Australia is sizeable and of concern to British farming, particularly as it is the first of several trade deals.
  • Further details of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) pilot scheme are now available. Those who submitted an Expression of Interest in the pilot will be shortly asked to make an application.  The pilot agreements will commence in October 2021 and continue until late 2024.  If you expressed an interest and would like advice on drawing-up an application, please contact one of our consultants.
  • The new England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) is now open.  The EWCO is available in addition to the Woodland Creation and Maintenance grant provided under the Countryside Stewardship scheme.  It supports the creation of a range of woodland types, but it will have more emphasis on the environmental and public benefits of woodlands. Sizes range from a minimum of 1ha per application with 0.1ha blocks. Capital grants covering the standard costs of buying and planting a tree, up to a maximum cap of £8,500 per ha is available – this compares to a maximum of £6,800 per ha under the Woodland Creation and Maintenance grant via the CS.  Maintenance payments for 10 years and further ‘Additional Contributions’ of between £400 and £2800 per ha are also available.
  • Tenants will be able to challenge their Landlords’ refusal to allow them to enter into land management agreements under new regulations which came into effect from the 21st June.  It applies to 1986 Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) tenancies only.  Tenants can apply to arbitration to vary the terms of the tenancy, or to gain Landlord’s consent, to enter one of the new financial assistance schemes (such as ELM) or to comply with a statutory duty (e.g. erecting a slurry store to be NVZ compliant).  The regulations apply to England with equivalent Welsh ones expected later in the year.
  • The first estimates of Total Factor Productivity (TFP) for 2020 (unsurprisingly) show a sharp decline compared with 2019.  TFP measures how well inputs are converted into outputs and thus gives an indication of the efficiency and competitiveness of the farming industry.  After a significant increase in 2019 (+4%), TFP has fallen back further by 6.7% in 2020.  The decrease was mainly due to a -6.3% decline in the overall levels of production but there was also a small 0.5% increase in the volume of inputs. The main driver was the drop in crop output of -12.4%.  Cereals decreased by -26% due to the challenging weather.  OSR and sugar beet experienced declines of -41% and -23% respectively. The overall livestock output declined by -0.6%.
  • Reports from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) show the Weighted Average farmland price for the full year 2020 was £10,390 per acre (£25,674 per Ha).  This is a hefty 20% rise over the two surveys combined for 2019, where the price was £8,602 per acre (£21,257 per Ha).  The Weighted Average Value excludes those sales which have been identified as having a residential value of more than 50% and a regional adjustment is also made.
  • Bovine TB cattle vaccination trials commenced in June in England and Wales with the aim of rolling out cattle bTB vaccinations by 2025.  This would be a ‘game changer’ and cannot come soon enough, particularly for those that live with the drudgery of constantly testing. The Government has also said it will end issuing new licenses for intensive badger culls as from 2022.  Many farmers will be disappointed to hear this, especially as even under the Government’s own admission it has led to a ‘significant reduction’ in the disease. 

This month’s Spotlight looks at the forecasts for Andersons’ Meadow Farm model. Click Here for further information.

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 Andersons’ AgriBrief 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://agribrief.co.uk/

 

Farming Focus InBrief – June 2021

  • Andersons’ consultants are continuing to support their clients during the pandemic. If you require any advice, please contact your  usual consultant, or the office on 01664 503200 or email [email protected].
  • UK farm profits fell by 20% in real terms between 2019 and 2020 based on latest Defra Total Income from Farming (TIFF) data. TIFF measures aggregate profitability of all UK farming businesses for the calendar year. The main reason for this decline was a 15% fall in the value of crop output. Income from diversification declined by almost 25%. Livestock sector output was broadly flat whilst costs declined in real terms. Looking to 2021, there are good prospects for a recovery with crops looking in good condition and prices, for crops and livestock, looking generally good (with 1-2 exceptions).
  • The Queen’s Speech which sets out the Government’s legislative agenda for the forthcoming Parliamentary session included a number of bills of relevance to the farming and rural sector. The most notable is the Environment Bill which is planned to be passed before the end of the year. Three Animal Welfare Bills are also planned which will include provisions to ban live animal exports for slaughter or fattening. A Planning Bill is set to include provisions for the ‘zoning’ of sites for development and plans to increase the numbers of homes built.
  • The farming industry has come together to call on the Government to protect the agricultural sector under any Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia. The farming sector is asking that some tariff and tariff rate quota restrictions remain whilst UK standards (environment, labour, food safety and animal welfare) are maintained. Some within Government are pushing for tariff-free and quota-free trade. Whilst imports from Australia are currently small in many cases, the deal sets an important precedent for future trade deals with the likes of the US and Brazil.
  • Plans for nature restoration and woodland creation have been unveiled as part of the Government’s plans to tackle climate change, address biodiversity challenges and help to deliver its net-zero commitment. The England Wood Creation Offer (EWCO) is due to open for applications shortly and replaces the Woodland Carbon Fund. It will be administered by the Forestry Commission and support will be available for diverse woodland types, from a minimum of 1 Ha per application. Payment rates are not yet published. From 2024, EWCO will transition into ELM and EWCO agreement holders will be able to transfer across to ELM at agreed points without penalty. 
  • The UK organic farming land area grew marginally in 2020. Latest Defra estimates put the organic land area at 489,000 Ha, up 0.8% on 2019. This accounts for 2.8% of the UK farmed area on agricultural holdings. It is mostly permanent pasture (62%) and temporary grassland (20%) with cereals accounting for 9% of area. Grazing livestock numbers on organic farms are down with sheep 13% lower and cattle numbers down by 9%. Pig numbers were down marginally (-0.6%) whilst poultry numbers rose by 2%. 
  • AHDB restructuring, due to the votes by the horticultural and potato sectors to end their levies, means that it is seeking to make around 140 staff redundant (30% of workforce). The majority will be in the two sectors concerned but it is also looking to make wider efficiency savings.
  • Wheat prices have fallen by £20/t since their highs of early May and currently stand at around £172/t. This is driven by improved weather conditions globally and projected records for cereals yields in the US. Feed barley has also slipped in line with the wheat price. Malting barley premiums are mixed. Growing and ripening conditions are ideal for barley across Europe. 
  • Chinese imports of maize look set to continue at high levels for 2021/22 marketing year. Historically, it has imported 5-6 million tonnes annually. In 2020-21, it imported 25 million tonnes. Some analysts believe it has already booked a similar amount for the year ahead. This could tighten global supply in 2021/22 and push the whole grain price matrix higher. 
  • UK farmgate milk prices remain good with further rises reported in May. Arla has announced a further 0.44ppl rise for member suppliers from 1st June. Several other suppliers have also increased their prices including: Muller (+1ppl for non-aligned suppliers); First Milk (+0.5ppl); Meadow Foods (+1.25ppl); Yew Tree Dairy (+2ppl); Freshways (+2.5ppl from July) and; Medina Dairy (+2.7ppl from 1st July). 
  • Finished beef and lamb prices have cooled somewhat in recent weeks. In early May, the deadweight beef price passed the 400 p/kg price for the first time.  For week ending 29th May, the GB all prime average price stood at 394 p/kg, returning to early April levels. These prices are still strong however. Whilst the orders from the catering sector have risen there is some evidence that retail orders have dropped slightly. Deadweight pig prices have continued to increase, with EU-spec SPP currently at nearly 152.8 p/kg.

This month’s Spotlight looks at Defra’s consultation on Lump Sum and Delinking of BPS in England. Click Here for further information.

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