DAIRY FARMERS and upland livestock producers in Devon will be worst hit by CAP reform, losing 20% and 38% in farm income, respectively.

But the first official report into the effect of mid-term review in the region, commissioned by Devon County Council from Exeter University, said that some cereal and lowland livestock farms could actually benefit.

It also claimed that a large-scale exodus from farming was unlikely, although farmers would have to adopt a range of strategies to stay in business.

Dairy incomes, which account for about 57% of Devon‘s overall farm income, would drop by up to a half by 2013, said the report.

Livestock farms in severely disadvantaged areas would also lose out, with average net farm income falling by 38%, to £12,800.

Cumulatively, the loss to the upland economies of Devon from the implementation of the single farm payment could be £14.1m by 2013.

But cereal and lowland livestock farms could enjoy a 47% and 108% rise in income, to £17,866 and £7,730, respectively.

Overall, excluding potential income from the Entry Level Stewardship scheme, net farm income in Devon could fall by 5% to £57.8m.

But if 80% of farmers took up the ELS scheme this could boost NFI by 0.4%.

“It is really important that, where possible, farmers take up these schemes,” said author of the report Dr Matt Lobley.