Happy farmer in field with iPad© Rex Features

Arable farmers in England, Scotland and Wales are generally happy and confident about the coming three months, with 65% feeling  the time is right to invest in major farm purchases, a new survey has found.

The survey, commissioned by BASF and conducted over the telephone by an independent market research company, found that 70% of farmers with more than 100ha of arable land were relatively happy about the current status of their farms and farming activity.

Farmers in the north of England were recorded as the happiest, with 82% saying they were pleased with how their farms are faring.

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Of the northern farmers, 77% said that they believed the time was right to invest in high-value items, such as machinery, precision technology and farm storage.

This compared with only 40% confidence for Welsh farmers, 66% for farmers in southern England and 45% in the Midlands.

The survey also probed the levels of confidence in farm finances over the next three months. Eighty percent of Welsh farmers said they were confident, compared with 55% in northern England, 39% in Scotland, 35% in the Midlands and just 29% in southern England.

Commenting on the findings, Joe Dixon, BASF’s stakeholder engagement manager said the high levels of confidence in Scotland were “interesting”, but in stark contrast to the mood among farmers in the South.  

“Farmers are worried about the Basic Payment System and are generally lacking in confidence at the ability of the Rural Payment Agency to process single farm payments in a timely manner,” he noted.

Other causes for worry are focused on the EU, with concerns surrounding the impact of the recent CAP reforms and the EU moving the goalposts on current rules and legislation.