By FW Staff

ARABLE farm profits face another big fall this season unless commodity prices climb, according to East Anglian accountants.

The average drop so far is £75/ha, according to a survey of 50 farms covering 17,400ha in the region.

Although big, the loss is about half of last years cut, thanks to better yields and lower input costs, says Douglas Young of Norwich-based accountant Lovewell Blake, which led the UK 200 chartered accountants study.

Feed wheat averaged 8.69t/ha, but prices for crops sold so far range from £65-80/t. Milling wheat yields averaged 7.8t/ha, achieving £80-104/t. Top prices reflect contracts placed before the main price slump.

Feed barley disappointed, yielding 5.28t/ha on average, but malting types gave almost 20% more. Prices ranged from £61/t for early feed barley to £95/t for good-quality contracted malting varieties.

Oilseed rape averaged 3.18t/ha and realised £150/t.

With about 12% of the surveyed area down to beet and potatoes, much depends in the outcome of these crops, the survey notes.

“However, we expect prices to improve gradually – we are exporting, the Pound has weakened slightly and we expect interest rates to drop,” says Mr Young.