The total profitability of farming in the UK is forecast to increase by 16% by for 2019, after higher crop yields pulled up arable incomes.
The first projection for this year by Defra puts the total profit for all UK farming businesses on a calendar year basis (including subsidy income) at close to £5.4bn – an increase of £736m on the previous year, and the second-highest amount in the past five years.
Farmers are estimated to have kept a greater margin, after sales income increased and the spend on inputs rose by just 1%, likely to have been helped by animal feed sales falling back from the highs of 2018.
The total value of crop outputs are predicted to rise by £1bn to £10.3bn, after average wheat yields rose to 9t/ha – above the five-year average of 8.3t/ha.
All other major cereal crops were also at or above the five-year average, with only oilseed rape dipping below to stand at 5.22t/ha for 2019, compared with an average of 5.27t/ha.
Livestock output is estimated to have risen in value by just 1% to stand at £14bn, with increases in the value of pork likely to have been offset by sharp falls in the value of beef.
Defra will update the total income from farming estimate in April 2020.