The number of farmers who say market uncertainty has prevented them from investing has increased sharply in the past six months.
Survey figures show that almost a third (31%) of businesses blamed the questionable outlook as the biggest reason for a lack of investment.
The survey of 1,200 farmers carried out in October by YouGov for lenders Hitachi Capital Business Finance (HCBF) and compares with a figure of just 19% citing the same reason in May this year.
The results also revealed that 78% of farmers felt external factors beyond their control hampered the development of their businesses.
HCBF director Gavin Wraith-Carter explained: “We wanted to uncover which issues are proving to be the big obstacles to growth and to see which, if any, are having a bigger impact now in the run-up to Christmas compared to the summertime.
“As expected, the picture is very different. Market uncertainty continues to be a barrier to growth for small business leaders in the agricultural sector, along with volatile cash flow, which is often a reflection of an uncertain market.”
Barriers to growth (change in percentage of farmers citing reasons for lack of growth May-October)
|Volatile cash flow||7%||28%|
|Unpredictable / extreme weather||41%||28%|
|Value of sterling||8%||13%|
|Lack of understanding from lenders||5%||11%|
|Having old/ out of date equipment||18%||10%|
|Crime / theft||3%||9%|