Results of a recent survey commissioned by BASFfound that arable farmers in England, Scotland and Wales say that they wouldntwant to farm anywhere else in the world, despite the current inhospitablemarket conditions, where commodity prices are low.
BASF quizzed farmers on their farming country ofchoice as part of the company’s quarterly ‘confidence’ survey of over 100farmers with over 100 hectares of arable area.
This most recent research, carried out by anindependent market research company, found that 37% of farmers said they wouldnot want to farm anywhere else other than in the UK. New Zealand was the mostpopular alternative, with 19% of farmers interviewed selecting thisagricultural powerhouse, followed by 8% choosing Canada, 6% preferring Franceand 5% seeing Australia as favourable, despite widespread drought over recentyears. The weather was seen to be the most important factor.
It is interesting that most UK farmers, when giventhe choice of farming anywhere else in the world, prefer to stay put, said JoeDixon of BASF.
When asked specifically about why they wanted tostay in the UK, the majority of answers were connected with familiarity withthe farming sector and practices. The second most frequent reason for stayingin the UK was that farmers were generally happy here. It really is a case ofthere is no place like home! he adds.
The research also found that 23% of farmerscategorised themselves as being happy with their current business situation.This hadnt changed significantly in the last three months, when 26% of farmerssuggested that they were happy.
What has changed in this quarter was farmerswillingness to invest in major purchases for the farm. Now 72% of respondentssay they are unlikely to make a significant capital investment, whereas threemonths ago it was 55%. The willingness not to invest is greater for the largerfarms and in certain regions such as Scotland and the south.
In support of this trend data, farmers were askedwhat their biggest concern for the farm was in the next three months. The topanswers given were crop prices (selected by 26% of all farmers), followed bythe need to survive (given by 21% of all farmers). Arable farmers were the mostconcerned about commodity prices (46% citing this as the primary concern), aswell as farmers in the Midlands and Scotland. Unsurprisingly the concern overprices was an issue across all regions.
However when asked what their biggest success onthe farm was in the last three months, crop yields came out top, selected by19% of all farmers. Overall one third of all farmers were pleased with theiryield performance and with harvest – a positive message.
Drilling down into the data further, 35% of arablefarmers said yield was their biggest success plus a further 14% said it washarvest performance. This was considered to be a success particularly in theMidlands and the North but less so in Scotland.
UK farmers seem to be pulling in their horns a bitfollowing a good harvest in a climate of low prices for cereals and oilseedrape. The level of confidence overall hasnt changed a great deal, but we willsee how this develops over time as we continue to keep our finger firmly on thepulse of the UK agriculture, said Joe Dixon.
BASF plans to conduct the next confidence surveylater this year, says the company.
More details of this and other surveys will beshared with farmers at BASFs agricultural discussion groups. Any farmerinterested in joining a group or event should contact their local agronomymanager. The teams details are listed here. http://www.agricentre.basf.co.uk/agroportal/uk/en/about_us_3/agronomy_managers/contact_us_agronomy_managers.html