By Farmers Weekly staff

DAIRY farmers in Wales suffered massive cuts in net farm income in the last accounting year, according to latest figures from the Welsh Institute of Rural Studies at Aberystwyth.

Falling milk prices and rising costs hit producers in all areas, though lowland regions were particularly badly affected.

Here, average net farm income in 1998/99 slumped by 11,600 to just over 15,500, a fall of 43%.

Hill and upland farms recorded a similar drop, with each business making just under 10,000. In both areas, large farms suffered the biggest cuts, with incomes nosediving by over 24,000.

Output values fell 5% compared with the previous year in the hills, while input spend rose 4%, according to the report.

And, in the lowlands, output value dropped twice as much, though costs were trimmed by 2%.


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“In both groups, it was noted that significant numbers of producers continued to leave the sector in 1998/99, mostly in the small farm categories,” says the report.

The reason is clear – small lowland dairy farms achieved a NFI of just 2300, a 72% fall on the year.