The amount of land put up for sale so far this year is down on 2006 but the market picked up sharply in May.

By the end of April only 31,675 acres had been put on the market, a 30% drop on last year, according to figures from property firm Savills.

But a 38,565-acre flood of new launches in May narrowed the gap to only 5%.

Agent Jessica Simpson said it had been the busiest May since 2002. Overall, she said the volume of land marketed publicly could be down because of the amount that was changing hands privately.

“Savills has bought or sold 11 farms privately so far this year compared to 3 during the same period last year. 

“This is due to private approaches being made to those who would not normally consider selling and  vendors looking to privately capitalise on the premium values being achieved now.”