Updated arable farm profit forecasts for harvest 2024
Updated arable farm profit forecasts for harvest 2024

Updated arable farm profit forecasts for harvest 2024

Strutt & Parker has updated its arable farm profitability model using current market data to produce revised forecasts for harvest 2023 and harvest 2024.

Strutt & Parker’s modelling tool uses a set of universal assumptions to provide an outlook for the sector.

It provides figures for both an average performing business and also a higher performing business, the latter characterised by farms achieving higher crop yields with lower fixed costs.

The analysis shows that the net margin – which can be considered to be the equivalent of profit, before rent and finance – for an average performing arable farm for harvest 2024 is expected to be £258/ha.

This compares with an estimated net margin of £208/ha for Harvest 2023.

Meanwhile, the 2024 net margin for a higher performing farm business is forecast to be £475/ha, compared with £416/ha in 2023.

“We have updated our assumptions based on current market conditions,” says Tom Coate, farm consultant with Strutt & Parker.

“Estimated profits for 2023 and 2024 are higher than the forecasts we made in June, which will be welcome news as Basic Payments continue to reduce.  However, net margins remain well below 2021 and 2022 levels and much closer to where they were in the late 2010s.”

The figures for the high performing businesses emphasise the value for growers of drilling down into the detailed performance of their business to find where there may be opportunities to cut costs or improve efficiency.

The estimated net margin of the higher performing business for harvest 2023 is twice that of an average performing business (£208/ha vs £416/ha), and it is forecast to be 84% higher for harvest 2024 (£258/ha vs £475/ha).

While this is not a new message, it once again highlights the benefits of growers understanding their costs of production and monitoring fixed costs.

Working capital requirements for farms, which are variable and fixed costs, have risen by 40% to £173,604 in 2023 for an average performing 131 ha farm, compared with the 2021 baseline. 

While this is expected to reduce in 2024 it still remains 28% higher than the baseline, putting extra pressure on a farm’s cash flow and finance requirements.

Download the full document.

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