FARMERS ARE borrowing more according to the latest figures from the Bank of England.

In the first three months of the year, the amount on loan to agricultural producers rose by 3.5% to £8.3bn, compared with the same period in 2003.

Borrowings were also up on a quarterly basis, rising 2.8% from the £8.1bn loaned in December.

But deposits also went up year on year, moving 8.3% to £3.6bn.

Tim Porter, agricultural director at Lloyds TSB Group, said borrowings were at a 17-year high for quarter one.

He said: “Based on our own figures, it is livestock farmers who are requiring extra cash flow, specifically dairy farmers.

“Feed and milk quota prices are on the up but milk prices remain modest.”