Pig farm incomes plummet in 2015/16
The average Farm Business Income (FBI) for specialist pig farms in England fell by 56% in 2015/16, when compared to the previous year, from £49,400 to £22,000, according to the latest data from Defra.
This is a larger fall than that previously forecast for the year and is the largest year on year decrease on record. This represents the lowest FBI for pig farms since 2007/2008, a year when feed prices were rising and pig prices were falling, which forced many English pig farmers out of business. Low prices were part of the reason for the fall. However, the higher levels of production led to costs associated with pig farming rising, which was also a major contribution to the decline. The sharp falls in the price of pigs are largely responsible for the discrepancy between the previous forecasts and the actual data.
The decline of 56% was the largest proportional fall for any type of farm, with the dairy sector close behind, recording a decrease of 50% on the year. This meant that specialist pig farm incomes fell below the average for all farms, which was £31,400, for the first time since 2012/13. Incomes for most other types of farm also declined. Cereals recorded a decline in FBI for 2015/16, of 21%, although general cropping farms saw an increase of 21%. Changes to the FBI for grazing livestock were mixed, with lowland enterprises decreasing by 35% due to lower output from cattle and sheep, while upland farmers benefitted from an increase in the Basic Payment Scheme, which led their FBI to rise by 30%.
Mark Kozlowski, Senior Analyst
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