Scottish farm incomes rise for first time in six years

Incomes from commercial farms in Scotland increased by around 94% in 2016-17 — but this rise simply reversed an alarming decline in the previous year.

According to latest figures published by Scotland’s chief statistician, farm incomes have now recovered to 2014 levels.

Average farm business income rose by around £12,800 to £26,400 in 2016-17.

The latest figures are based on annual audits of nearly 500 commercial farms in Scotland called the Farm Business Survey (FBS). This report focused on the 2016 crop year.

Farmers that have expanded from traditional agricultural work, such as renting out holidays homes or building small wind farms to generate electricity, did better than farms that have not.

Diversified farm incomes were around £17,400 higher compared to those that have focussed on normal farming activity.

The survey categorises farms into eight types such as dairy or crop farms and those in less favourable conditions for growing crops and holding livestock.

General cropping farms had the highest average income for 2016-17 at £47,100, up around £15,700 on the previous year.

Dairy farms experienced the largest increase of average income.

The average net worth of Scottish farm businesses is estimated at £1.3 million.