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Moray farm income reaches a record high

By David Porter

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The Chief Statistician has released figures on 2022-23 farm incomes which show that average income increased to its highest level since 2012-13, after adjusting for inflation.

Farm incomes have risen in the last 12 months. Picture: David Porter
Farm incomes have risen in the last 12 months. Picture: David Porter

Average farm income, a measure of farm profit after costs, is estimated to be £69,100 in 2022-23.

This is an increase of £14,600 on the previous year.

Income from support payments, agricultural, diversified and contracting activity, all contribute to average farm income.

For the first time since 2012-13, when these records began, agricultural activity alone is profitable for the average farm.

This was mostly driven by increases in cereals, milk, and livestock output, reflecting strong wholesale prices.

General cropping farms saw the strongest growth with average incomes rising by 83 per cent to £167,100, its highest value. Income for average dairy (£248,700), cereal (£99,700), and mixed (£85,700) farms were also at record values in 2022-23.

Income fell for livestock farms on average. Livestock farms, which make up 60 per cent of commercial farms, continue to make losses on their agricultural activity on average. Rising costs exceeded smaller increases in output. Only Less Favoured Areas (LFA) cattle farms saw income grow compared with the previous year. Livestock farms continue to be more reliant on support payments to make a profit. Sheep farms in less favoured areas were the least likely to make a profit without support. Only 8 per cent of these farms would have made a profit in 2022-23 if support payments were excluded.

In 2022-23 total average output increased by 19 per cent to £280,300. Farms on average received £46,300 in support and made £5,000 from diversification, like renting out farm buildings. Total input costs increased 12 per cent to £262,400 for the average farm. Increasing prices of agricultural inputs such as feed, fuel and fertilisers were seen for a second year.

These results are calculated from the 2022-23 Farm Business Survey, which covered the 2022 cropping year and the 2022-23 financial year. The Farm Business Survey is an annual survey of approximately 400 commercial farms with economic activity of at least approximately £20,000.

Farms which do not receive support payments, such as pigs, poultry and horticulture, are not included in the survey.

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