Landlords have been warned against forcing dairy tenants to leave the industry by increasing rents.

Speaking ahead of the RABDF Dairy and Livestock Event at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, the Tenant Farmers Association said it was a “critical time” for dairy tenants.

Stephen Wyrill, TFA national vice chairman, said while milk prices had improved, there had been no real improvement  in dairy margins once increased costs had been factored in.

“Coupled with that it is wrong for landlords to be looking at rents achievable in the residential letting market and then attempting to apply those in a farm setting – it is like comparing chalk with cheese.

“I cannot see that there is any scope for increases in average dairy farm rents at this time.”

Dairy cows

Mr Wyrill said it had been 25 years since many dairy farms in the tenanted sector had seen any significant outlay in fixed equipment and there was a “huge need” for investment.

“We are aware that on nearly all estates there will be insufficient resource available for landlords to provide the necessary fixed equipment,” he said.

“It is for this reason that the TFA continues to argue for sufficient grant aid for this fixed equipment from DEFRA and we will maintain the pressure on the Secretary of State to provide this,” he added.

Mr Wyrill also warned processors and retailers against passing on costs to producers

“This will hasten the number of dairy farmers already leaving the industry to the detriment of us all.  What might seem in the short term interests of their shareholders will be to their long term harm,” said Mr Wyrill.