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Farming news and views in Wales

April 2014

£1.50 page 15

Dairy talk at conference

Farming future looking bright

Income forecast to rise by 88%

page 12

Just chilled is hot stuff

INCOME from milk pro- duction is forecast to rise by a staggering 88% on Welsh dairy farms this year.

According to figures published

by the Welsh Government, the average farm business income from dairy farms will increase to £84,700. The figure was released togeth-

er with a report which shows that total income from Welsh farming rose by 13% last year. The agricul- tural sector in fact generated a total income of £172.4 million in 2012-13. There was a particularly large

page 23

increase in the value of output from milk and milk products; which rose by 21%, due mainly to the higher milk price, but also from greater volumes of milk being produced in Wales. For new entrants like north

Wales dairy farmer, Matthew Jackson, this news is welcome but not surprising. “You only have to look at the population growth figures to see

by Debbie James

that there is only one way that demand for milk and dairy prod- ucts will go and that is up,” he said.

“In Wales we have an excellent

climate for growing grass which means we can produce more milk with greater numbers of cows from the cheapest source of feed, that is what is driving profitabili- ty.”

Despite having no family back-

ground in farming, Matthew is now share farming near Pwllheli, running 427 New Zealand Friesian crossbred cows and youngstock. “I don’t think you need a huge

amount of finance to get started. From a wage and a small piece of land you can achieve a lot if you work hard from the start. It’s about having goals, setting targets and putting a strategic plan in place,” he said. The Welsh Government report for 2012-13 showed that cattle

THE ONLY WAY IS UP: Matthew Jackson shares the Welsh Government’s optimism for dairy farming.

farmers also fared well, with a 12% rise in the value of output. The report confirmed that the

impact of the increase in the value of agricultural output was only partially offset by a2%increase in input costs and a fall in the value of subsidy payments. But the figures that have really buoyed farmers are the predic-

tions for 2013-14. The outlook is upbeat with average incomes across all farmtypes predicted to rise by 32% to £37,300. Dairy farming will see the

strongest growth, but cattle and sheep farmers in less favoured areas will also add an additional 17% to their incomes, with a farm business income per farm of

PICTURE: Debbie James.

£26,500. For livestock farms in severely disadvantaged areas, the income increase is anticipated to be 18% with a 15% rise for those in disadvantaged areas. The only sector that won’t see

an improvement in income is low- land grazing livestock. This is pre- dicted to remain unchanged, at around £30,200.

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