Tractor in field© Juice/RexShutterstock

The area of tenanted land in England and Wales grew by just 2,000 acres last year.

Almost 6,300 acres of farm business tenancy (FBT) lettings were offered on land not previously let, according to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).

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The association’s annual report on agricultural land occupation in 2014 covers changes across 78,000 acres of FBT, contract-farmed land and land where Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) tenancies ended in the year.

Its other key findings include:

More than three-quarters of land where AHA tenancies ended with no successor was re-let on FBTs

  • The average length of an FBT was three years six months, close to the past 10-year average of three years and nine months
  • Just two sales to sitting tenants were recorded by the survey – much lower than usual and covering just 135 acres
  • 93% of expiring FBTs were re-let as FBTs
  • New entrants secured 5.5% of lettings and were offered longer average tenancy term lengths – more than one-third of lettings to new entrants were for more than five years
  • Where 1986 Act tenancies ended, 31% resulted in successions and successions tended to happen on larger holdings
  • The area of new contract farming agreements equated to about 30% of the area let on FBTs in the year, similar to the trend in recent years
  • Less grazing land was newly let and lettings were on increasingly short terms, with 92% let for a year or shorter.