Average farm incomes rise to £96,100 despite volatility

The average farm business income in England increased to £96,100 across all farm types in 2022-23, according to Defra’s latest farm survey.

During the 12-month period to the end of February 2023, average incomes rose for dairy, cereals, pigs, and horticultural enterprises.

However, incomes for general cropping, grazing livestock, poultry, and mixed enterprises all declined on the year.

See also: Government urged to reform payment schemes for upland farms

Defra farming minister Mark Spencer said the statistics show overall farm business incomes registered record highs and increased by 12% from March 2022 to February 2023.

Mr Spencer added: “This is welcome news, but we recognise there is more to do, with increased input costs and price volatility due to the war in Ukraine having an impact on income for different parts of the sector.

“That’s why we are continuing to offer support to help farmers produce food profitably, productively, and sustainably. That includes our farming schemes, our productivity and innovation grants, and work to improve fairness in supply chains.”

Rising farmgate milk and pig prices during the later stages of 2022 helped to drive increases in farm incomes for those two sectors during the period.

Cereals growers also enjoyed increased income for the year due to higher global commodity prices as a result of conflict in Ukraine.

Grazing livestock

Conversely, grazing livestock farms in less favoured areas had the biggest decline year on year, falling by 41% to £25,400.

This was driven by rising on-farm input costs limiting output, and reduced Basic Payment Scheme payments.

These type of businesses made an average loss of £10,400 based solely on agricultural activities, and remain reliant on diversified incomes and support payments.

Last week, think tank Green Alliance called on government to reform payment schemes to provide more support for smaller grazing and upland farms, arguing the Environment Land Management scheme is both unfair and inefficient.

Lowland grazing livestock farms also had reduced incomes in 2022-23 compared with the previous year, falling by 37% to £21,600.