Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sterling fall boosts farm incomes

The weakening of sterling against the euro over the past four months potentially boosts UK farmers' single farm payment subsidies by £240m. For every 1p/euro change in exchange rates, the UK's single farm payments alter by around £40m. SFP accounted for around 15 per cent of UK farm incomes and can be an even bigger slice of profits. For example, over half the profits at Cooperative Farms, the country's biggest farmer, are down to SFP.

Currency fluctuations also affect market prices with a 1p weakening against the euro adding £200m to UK farmers' total income. For example, a farmer producing a typical wheat crop should get about £18 a hectare more from wheat sales with the euro worth 6p more. That's nearly ten times the impact on that farm's SFP.

The downside is that inputs such as feed, fertilisers and sprays could now be 7 per cent more expensive in sterling terms, if all the currency effects are passed on. Machinery could also be more expensive.