UK farming would take a hit of around £850 million in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to a new research produced by farm business consultants, The Andersons Centre.
In a report for the BBC, Andersons predict an 18% decline in profitability if the UK leaves Europe without a deal on October 31, and points out that with many farms already struggling to break even, the scale of the impact would put the viability of many farm businesses in jeopardy.
The company also predicts a 3% decline in the profitability of UK farming in the event of a Brexit deal being agreed.
The most substantial declines are forecast for sheepmeat (-31%), and figures show output for cereals, milk and beef production would also be down.
Increases are projected for horticulture and intensive livestock such as pigs and poultry – but only if enough labour can be sourced.
On a more positive note, some decreases are forecast for inputs as a result of the introduction of lower UK import tariffs under a no-deal scenario.
“Examples here include animal feed, fertiliser and plant protection products. However, other inputs such as veterinary costs are projected to rise as it is anticipated that there would be a significant increase in demand for veterinary staff to assist with border inspection operations,” Andersons add.
The farmers’ union pointed out the predictions underlined fears already expressed that the viability of many farming businesses would be in jeopardy if no deal can be agreed.
NFU Scotland’s policy director, Jonnie Hall said: “This is a stark reminder that, while governments and the food supply chain can put in place measures to mitigate the worst outcomes from no-deal, the risks to primary producers are very real.”