MOST FARMERS are planning to ignore industry advice and bolster profitability with the single farm payment, according to a survey by Barclays Bank.

Euryn Jones, agricultural policy director, said: “Despite being urged by farm business consultants and other experts to exclude the SFP, it’s disappointing to learn that two-thirds of farmers we talked to at Smithfield are intending to include it when calculating the profitability of their farming businesses.”

Mr Jones said he had no problem with farmers investing in their businesses to ensure future profitability, but added: “Farmers need to think very hard.

Whittling the SFP away in supporting what may be unprofitable farming activity cannot be a good thing.”

Simon Dennison, a consultant with Laurence Gould, was surprised by the figure but said many farmers were not yet used to the idea of decoupling. He said it was easy to talk about it as a concept but not so simple in practice. “People don’t like to be told that their enterprises are not viable and some don’t want to think about the alternatives.”