18 February 2000

Arable price takes slight fall

THE average price for arable land fell by just 3.5% to £2588/acre in the year ending 31 Dec 1999 mainly due to the lack of land brought to the open market.

"For mainly arable farms over 200 acres there was a 44% decrease in farmland sold publicly in 1999 compared to 1988," found the latest research from Strutt & Parker.

Also the firms arable land index found that whole farm prices rose on average by 8% during the year fuelled especially in the south east by the strong residential market.

In the eastern counties the average value of bare arable land remained similar reflecting a strong local farmer demand for the best land.

"A relative shortage of land put up for sale due to profitable growers taking on neighbouring land to farm on contract or under a farm business tenancy helped to maintain recent values," it found.

The biggest drop in arable land prices, 15%, was recorded in the south-west where the mainly mixed farms have suffered huge financial problems with their livestock and dairy enterprises.