Expanding farmers keen to get hands on let land

More let land is becoming available across the south-west, but demand from expanding farmers remains strong.

Many of the larger farms being sold to lifestyle buyers are then being put out to let or contract farm, according to Charles Wreford-Brown of south Devon specialist Luscombe Maye.

“We’re finding very good demand for let land, particularly if there’s a good single payment with it.

Rents in South Hams are averaging £65-£70/acre with a reasonable SFP, and £20-£40/acre without any entitlements.”

However, some people were still not taking the single payment into account when tendering, said Stags’ letting agent Steve Talling.

“I’m still hearing of grass keep without entitlements going for £80-£100/acre.

People really need to work out what the land is worth to them.”

Mr Talling said the increased supply of bare land was down to landlords having more confidence in single farm payment arrangements.

“But 80% of farms I’ve dealt with have been private treaty lettings between farmers who know each other.”

And there was an increasing range in the type of deal agreed, he said.

“You can’t let land out on a farm business tenancy and still keep your agricultural inheritance tax relief on the house.

So we are doing a lot of contracting so the landowner is still officially farming.”

Whole farms are still very scarce – with two offerings from the National Trust’s Killerton Estate creating massive interest.

Burrow Farm, Broadclyst, Devon, extends to 357 acres and includes a farmhouse, cottage and farm buildings.

The nearby Martinsfield Farm has 229 acres, two farmhouses and outbuildings.

Both are on the market due to retirement, and are being let under 10-year FBTs.

“There have been a good number of tenders received, with over 180 sets of particulars sent out,” said rural surveyor Jacqueline Cox.

“We are in the throes of interviews so can’t comment on tender values.”