39% of British beef farmers are 'worried' about the future of their farm

New research shows investment in technology is a bright spot
calendar icon 6 June 2023
clock icon 3 minute read

SUM-IT Farm Management Software have just revealed the results of their recent Farmer Insights Survey 2023 and have found that nearly two-thirds of British beef farmers are either ‘worried’ or ‘indifferent’ about the future of their farm.

242 British farmers were surveyed in this nationwide study which looked at seeking the opinions of today’s farmer, largely around the future of their farm. A spread of beef, dairy and arable farmers were included, and it appears beef farmers were amongst those most worried about their farming future.

One of the questions asked them to describe how they were feeling about the future of their farm business.

  • 39% of beef farmers said they were ‘worried’
  • 31% said they were ‘indifferent’
  • only 28% saying they were ‘excited’

Other words that came out were ‘apprehensive’ ‘frustrated’ ‘challenging’ ‘mixed feelings’ and ‘relatively confident.’

This compares to just 27% of British dairy farmers who reported feeling ‘worried’ about the future of their farm.

This seems to paint a somewhat pessimistic picture of how British beef farmers are feeling about the next few years.

However, when it comes to feelings amongst the younger generation of beef farmers, the survey showed a hugely more optimistic picture with 66% of those under 35 year olds saying they were ‘excited’ about the future compared to just 24% of farmers over 45 years of age.

The survey asked beef farmers what their plans were over the next 5 years. 41% stated that they are looking to grow their farm with a larger 55% reporting that they were just looking to maintain the farm at the same level. The remainder said they were looking to diversify into areas such as farm shops and accommodation.

These lower level growth aspirations may be indicative of uncertainty in the market at the moment, volatile input costs and selling markets, the discontinuation of the Basic Payments System along with Brexit worries.

Of those beef farmers who reported being ‘worried’ about the future of their farm, only 15% of these were looking to grow their farm over the next 5 years. This compares to 59% of those who reported being ‘excited’ about the future.

Copyright SUM-IT

One area beef farmers did appear to be slightly more excited about was the use of technology with 32% saying they were excited about embracing more technology in the future. 70% of beef farmers said they plan to invest in technology in the next 3 years. Reasons given for this investment include to boost efficiencies and to save staff costs.

However, nearly a third of beef farmers report not wanting to invest in technology at all in the next 3 years. The main reasons cited for this was the high investment cost and the uncertain return on investment.

Ben John from SUM-IT says, “Our survey has provided very interesting reading and highlights the high levels of worry and frustration around the next few years amongst today’s beef farmer which may be a reflection of the uncertain economic landscape.

This isn’t helped by the increasing admin burden put on beef farmers with 73% reporting an increase in farm admin over the past 3 years. With the launch of our new next generation of farm management systems we are doing all we can to help streamline farm admin and release some of that pressure.”

To view the full insights from this survey, head to https://www.sum-itsoftware.co....

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