What will affect profits in 2006?

IN THE latest roundup of views from the Farmers Weekly Farmer Focus writers, find out what or who will have the biggest impact on profit in the coming year.

• Steve Bumstead: World agricultural commodity prices. Grain is currently undervalued. My hope is for China to extend its buying-up ethic to grain alongside steel and oil. Until then wheat futures prices to rise to equivalent of £85.00 Sept ‘O6, £90.00 Sept ’07 just long enough for me to lock in and throw away the key!

• Chris Harrold: The weather will undoubtedly having the largest impact on all crop margins, with potatoes having the biggest effect on our profit (IF we make one) especially so with the packing varieties.

• James Stafford: The biggest impact on profit comes down to commodity price – of which we have little control.

• Richard Ward: (a) DEFRA – by sending us our correct maps so that we can enter the ELS. (b) Biofuel – as long as whoever starts making it doesn’t try to screw us by making excessive profits for themselves.

• Peter Hogg: Gordon Brown knows that our economy has no foundation and is based on nothing more than borrowed money. He is desperate to keep inflation down by signing up to as many world trade deals as possible This will create lots of nice cheap imports for the consumer but goodbye to British producers.

• Mark Ireland: Two decisions yet to be made by government. It looks as though we will have a 22% cut in beet price but how will the compensation be allocated? As farmers in a previous Nitrate Sensitive Area we are also still waiting to find out if land taken out of arable production will be eligible for single payment.

• Hendrik Visser: For us as farmers I think weather always has the biggest impact on our income. But with this year’s cut on sugar, our ministers of agriculture also had a big impact on our income in a negative way.

• Richard Crewe: Unfortunately a crop disaster in some other part of the world.

• Matthew Dale: whether or not I actually get out of bed at all – Paul (brother) might argue that we would make more money if I did stay in bed and let him get on with it.

• David Greasby: No one will do it for me so it is ‘I the farmer’ – with a little help from external cost effective resources including the leverage and support from group buying and selling – apart from a lot of luck!

• Bill Davey: Undoubtedly, the value of the New Zealand dollar, but with a predicted drought looming and fortunately irrigated land this could have a positive effect on our bottom line.

• John Jeffrey: Unfortunately, yet again the Three “B”s; Blair, Brown & Beckett. Each is as culpable as each other in their contempt of our industry and was highlighted when Tony Blair used our Single Farm Payment as a bargaining chip as President of the EU.

• Mark McFerran: My wife Alison depending on whether or not she gets her wish to do up our bathroom.

• Simon Redfearn: Him upstairs! No matter what we do, our markets and access to them are mostly governed by the weather. I’ll be faxing my requests just after the new year! (Though until now they’ve always been ignored!)

• Kevin Littleboy: The main threat next year will be the globalization of trade by the World Trade Organisation and Peter Mandelson, the European Commissioner.

• Andrew Peddie: Like most farmers, my own efforts. If we wait for things to get better we will still be waiting at Christmas, but not this year’s.

See www.fwi.co.uk on Monday (2 January) to find out what the Farmer Focus writers think the government should implement or abandon in the coming year and what they will be doing to protect the environment.