Farmland in Welsh hills(c) WestEnd61/Rex

Farm incomes in Wales are expected to plummet by nearly one-quarter in 2014-15, according to official forecasts.

Just weeks after the Welsh Farm Business Survey showed average farm business income in Wales had fallen by one-third in the previous 12 months, the Welsh government is forecasting a 24% drop in the year ahead.

See also: Farm incomes fall across most sectors – new figures show

According to the Farm Incomes in Wales 2014-15 report, prepared by the Welsh government’s statistics and research division, average income across all sectors will fall to £22,200.

A combination of lower farmgate prices and a slimmed down direct payment are among the reasons for the decline.

FUW president Emyr Jones described the effect on farm incomes as “catastrophic’’.

“The fact that sterling is continuing to strengthen against the euro means there is ongoing pressure on prices, with the situation in relation to Greece not helping,’’ he said.

He criticised the Welsh government for the continued uncertainty of how much money individual farmers will receive through the new Basic Payment Scheme.

NFU Cymru president Stephen James described the situation as  “challenging’’ for all sectors. “The support of government, banks and the supply chain is crucial to help us come through these difficult times,’’ he said.