Prime arable land in sought-after areas could reach values of up to £20,000/acre by 2020, predicts land agents Bidwells.

“We believe the land market is going to continue the same way as the recent past; there’s no reason why the trajectory of travel will falter,” said the company’s head of rural estate and farm agency James Brooke.

For the very best land, in sought-after areas and often in relatively small blocks of 100-200 acres, values approaching £20,000/acre had already been achieved, said Mr Brooke at Cereals 2013.

Constricted supply – there was 25-30% less land on the market this spring compared to 2012 – meant there were more buyers vying for top quality land.

In the future, the type of land likely to achieve £20,000/acre was good quality Grade 1 land with irrigation and very good drainage, said Mr Brooke.

Ideally the farm would have no more than 15% of its value locked into residential property, and offer well-equipped modern buildings, good transportation and communications links, and access to a readily available skilled labour force in the area.

Factors affecting land prices

  • Climate – buyers are after land able to adapt to produce different crops and varieties
  • Irrigation and drainage – farms with long-term access to water were most attractive, as well as those with the good drainage to cope in both wet and drought years
  • Technology and expertise – farms with the scale to use the latest technology and machinery, as well as access to a skilled workforce would command higher prices in the future

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Good drainage and irrigation drive arable land market