Scottish farming optimism grows – survey

Optimism for the future is at a 16-year high among Scottish farmers, according to Lloyds Banking Group Scotland’s annual agricultural survey.

Overall profit was higher in the last full accounting year for 87% of those surveyed, a slight rise on last year’s results.

Pre-tax profit exceeded personal drawings for 65% of those surveyed, and while that was up from last year’s 54% it demonstrates the continued importance of sfp to these businesses.

All except arable producers expect higher profits this year. More than half of the 465 farmers surveyed plan to retire in the next 10 years and the better prospects mean slightly more (57%) have a successor compared with last year.

Almost a quarter (22%) plan to invest in wind power in the next year but for 41% of those who had already invested in wind power, income was falling below expectations.

The value of the Euro and energy costs were the chief concerns for performance in 2012, said Donald MacRae, chief economist for Lloyds Banking Group Scotland.

Almost half of those surveyed (45%) favoured a cap on sfp but there was more support for a simple fixed figure cap than a labour cost related cap. CAP reform plans for a 7% ecological focus area were rejected by 86% of those surveyed.

Further survey results:

• 72% said bank credit availability had stayed the same or increased

• Actual investment in 2011 far exceeded forecast made one year ago

• Expansion planned all round except in beef cow