Farm incomes in Wales leap £36m

Farm incomes in Wales were up £36m last year, according to figures released by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The total income from Welsh farming rose from £65m in 2007 to £101m last year, the assembly’s annual survey of farm businesses revealed. Individual farm incomes rose by 16% to £30,000.

Despite the improvement, NFU Cymru has warned it would be difficult for the industry to maintain that growth in 2009.

“After several years of low profitability news of a significant increase in farm incomes last year is very encouraging,” said union president Dai Davies.

“But whether this improvement can be maintained through 2009 is highly debatable.”

Mr Davies acknowledged that higher commodity prices and the impact of a weak pound on farmers’ direct payments had boosted average incomes.

But he was concerned about downward pressure on farmgate milk prices, despite the fact that UK farmers were lower than the current EU average.

“In addition, the gloom over the British economy is bound to result in some changes in consumption patterns and ensure that price competition remains fierce, both of which will have an impact on farm profitability,” he said.

“What is clear is that volatility, the buzzword of the moment, is likely to be a feature for the foreseeable future and it will require all parts of the supply chain to find ways to ensure profitability levels can be maintained.”