Two-thirds of Scottish farmers have tried to increase loans or overdrafts in the past 12 months, a survey by NFU Scotland has revealed.
Initial findings of the union’s weather aid survey showed that 66% of the 400 respondents had tried to increase loans or other financial support. It also showed that one in ten had been refused an extension to their overdraft.
An NFUS spokesman said: “Looking ahead, 84% of respondents were bracing themselves for lower sales and output this year and almost half of respondents were anticipating that they may need additional finance as the year progresses.”
“The level of pressure heaped on many Scottish farm businesses by the weather of 2012 and the spring of 2013 is extreme.”
Nigel Miller, NFUS president
NFUS president Nigel Miller said: “The level of pressure heaped on many Scottish farm businesses by the weather of 2012 and the spring of 2013 is extreme. Our survey has confirmed that farm finances are creaking and that the majority of respondents have had to make arrangements to cover additional costs and cashflow problems.
“The level of disruption to both arable and livestock farms means it is likely to be 2014 before many farm businesses will see any significant improvement in their position.”
Mr Miller added: “It is clear the area of winter crop ploughed in is significant and much of the remaining oilseed rape acreage is compromised at best. Extra feed is still being required on livestock farms and costs will continue to mount over the May period.
“The response on some farms has been the forced sale of livestock earlier than planned to buffer cashflows with others postponing intended investments. That has implications for the industry beyond the farmgate.”