Falling commodity prices resulted in UK farm incomes falling by nearly a third in 2015.
Figures released from farming ministry Defra reveal UK farmers’ income fell by 29% last year, with the sector’s contribution to the UK economy down 14% to £8.495billion.
Provisional figures from the UK Government’s food and farming department suggest Total Income From Farming (Tiff) in real terms fell by £1.526billion to £3.769billion.
Average individual incomes in real terms were also down by 29% to £19,471.
In a report, Defra said: “Following poor weather in 2012 and 2013 growing conditions were more favourable in 2014 and maintained in 2015 encouraging good crop growth and record yields. However in 2015 whilst production levels were maintained, lower commodity prices due to increased global production and stocks resulted in a fall of 8% in the value of outputs.”
It said strengthening of the pound against he euro had reduced the value of direct payments to farmers, with the net value of UK Basic Payments in 2015 estimated to be 7.5% lower than in 2014.
Labour, rent and interest rises were also a contributing factor to the fall in Tiff.
In its provisional figures, Defra said the main sectors experiencing a drop in commodity values were dairy and pigs.
It estimated that the value of milk fell by £940million to £3.663billion, with the average milk price in 2015 down to 24.5pence a litre, compared to 31.5pence a litre in 2014.
Lower prices were also blamed for a £186million decrease in the value of pigmeat to £1.078billion.
Overall livestock output was 9.3% lower at £13.006billion, however the value of cattle for meat rose by £128million to £2.739billion.
The value of sheepmeat decreased by £17million to £1.105billion, while the value of poultry meat feel by £25million to £2.226billion.
In the cereals sector, the overall value of crops fell by 8.1% to £8.474billion, with most crops seeing a reduction in value with the exception of oilseed rape, protein crops and fruit and vegetables.
The value of wheat fell by £432million to £2.033billion, while the value of barley fell by £76million to £824million.
Tatties decreased in value by £131million to £547million, due largely to a reduction in planted area causing a 19% fall in volumes.
In January, Scottish Government estimates put Tiff in Scotland to be down 15% to £667million, which is the second lowest figure in the past decade once inflation is taken into account.