OVER THE border in Wales, land sales have suffered a similar fate.  Despite a perception that the region has got a better initial deal out of the mid-term review, agents were still faced with a shortfall in supply. The dairy sector looks hardest hit, suggested Ewan Jones of Carmarthen-based Bob Jones-Prytherch.

“The model dairy farm or at least that which has seen recent investment in updating facilities and, therefore, offers good, sound investment potential is just not coming available,” he said.

That has left producers hunting for opportunities. The 175-acre Hill Farm, Narberth, set up for New Zealand-style grazing with a handling race and parlour, but no other building or farmhouse, still achieved in excess of 3000/acre – marginally short of the guide price, he said.

Others had benefited from alternative buyers. The National Trust snapped up 133-acres of cliff-top grazing on the coastline of north-west Wales “for well in excess of the 325,000 guide”, said Tim Barter of Carter Jonas.

“Grazing remains in short supply. This has led to buyers, in extreme cases, paying up to 5000/acre for land on which you”d probably consider putting nothing but a goat,” he said.

More realistically, 53 acres of rough grazing 1000ft above sea level offered through Lampeter-based Morgan & Davies achieved a more modest 1650/acre. “But there were plenty of bidders willing to go the distance,” said Andrew Morgan.

Future farm values will continue to be underpinned by generous Capital Tax allowances afforded to agricultural property, he suggested, although a slip in the residential market could take some pressure off smaller units where lifestyle is the key driver behind a purchase.

In Powys, Morris Marshall & Poole handled three beef and sheep farms that returned 600,000-700,000 apiece – above expectations, said the company’s Tony Evans. “The mid-term review has had little effect on the willingness to invest. Better ground will continue to make 2500-3500/acre as those committed to a future in farming look to expand.”