The supply of farmland on the open market could have halved within two years, according to land agent Strutt & Parker.

The firm’s Charlie Evans believes the market could see fewer than 100,000 acres publicly marketed in 2010, compared with almost 190,000 acres in 2008.

Mr Evans says the sharpness of the decline can be attributed to the peak in land values seen in 2008. “Many bought land for £2500-£3000/acre in the early 2000s,” he said. “In 2008 they were given the opportunity to double their money and sell for £5000-£6000/acre and many took it.”

Next year’s general election could also see a substantially quieter market, Mr Evans said. “Traditionally, elections cause the market to slow down considerably as buyers and sellers wait to see who will be in power and what effect the change of government may have on farming and property transactions.”

Farmers Weekly’s Land Tracker, which measures the number of acres of UK land and farms advertised in the magazine, records 183,462 acres marketed in 2008. So far this year the tally stands at just 125,843 acres, about 25% down on the year.