By Farmers Weekly staff

WAGE pressures could tip more farming companies into the red next year, warns Plimsoll Publishing.

Average earnings in farming amount to £15,500 an employee in 1998, according to the groups latest figures.

Salaries rose by an average of 4.5%, although remuneration still fell below the UK average of £18,300.

“Each year, companies have to dig deeper into their pockets to deliver rewards and retain the best people,” says the report. But 39% of businesses within the industry are already losing money, it adds.

Companies will either have to grow or shed jobs to afford the increases needed to retain a high calibre workforce, says Plimsoll. Unless they take that action, 54% of businesses will lose money next year if the companys prediction of a £17,200 average wage is realised.