1 October 1999

Dismal forecast for farm profits

EVEN the best estimates for farm profits in the year 2000 are dismal, according to John Nix in the thirtieth edition of the Farm Management Pocketbook.

That will surprise no one, he adds. "Some improvement in world prices, together with some weakening of the £, is badly needed if many farmers are to be saved from being forced to give up.

"However, what is misery for some means opportunities and challenges for others and times will undoubtedly improve, and perhaps before very long."

Average milk production costs in the book are put at 18.52p/litre, before extra quota costs and interest, well above the expected ex-farm price.

And an average yielding (7.75t/ha) crop of feed wheat is predicted to produce a gross margin of £540/ha (£219/acre), assuming an average price of £70/t and an area payment of £240/ha (£97/acre). Yet a mainly cereals farm of over 200ha (500 acres) faces average fixed costs (including unpaid labour and rent) of £565/ha (£229/acre).

Copies cost £9 (discounts available for bulk orders) from Wye College Press, Wye College, Ashford, Kent TN25 5AH.

&#8226 The SAC has published its rival Farm Management Handbook, which includes an outline of the new subsidy regimes following the Agenda 2000 reforms. Information on enterprise gross margins, machinery costs and contract charges, buildings, field engineering, and whole farm financial data is also included, as is information on grants, taxation, credit, labour and tourism.

Copies are available for £13.75 from Publications Office, SAC, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG. &#42