A huge £1.5bn was lopped off farm business incomes last year as a result of low commodity prices and reduced support payments.
Defra’s first estimate for 2015 shows a 29% fall in Total Income from Farming (Tiff) on 2014 to £3.77bn.
The knock-on effect to the UK’s GDP was a 14% fall year-on-year, representing £1.39bn less going into the economy.
Dairy, wheat, pig and sugar beet producers and growers were the worst hit – Tiff in the dairy sector fell by £931m, wheat by £432m, pigs by £186m, and sugar beet by £142m.
This was to a small extent offset by a decrease in energy costs of £215m and animal feed costs of £201m.
But overall, good growing conditions in 2014 were followed by an 8% fall in global commodity prices in 2015 as a result of increased production and stocks, said Defra’s report.
Farmers were also hit by lower BPS payments, as the pound strengthened against the euro, resulting in £150m being knocked off their value in 2015 compared to the year before.
Labour, rent and interest rate rises also contributed to shrinking Tiff.
Defra’s second estimate for 2015 will be made in November using additional data.