East of England tops national table for farming incomes
- Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography
Farms in the East of England harvested more than a billion pounds’ worth of combinable crops and sugar beet last year – underlining the region’s reputation as the nation’s top agricultural breadwinner.
Defra has released its first estimates of Total Income from Farming (TIFF) for 2019, which measures profits for all farming businesses by assessing the returns from the management, labour and capital invested.
The East of England’s figure of £885m was the biggest contribution to England’s farming incomes, making up 22pc of the national total of £3,995m.
In second place was the East Midlands at £751m (19pc), while the North East made the smallest contribution of £85m (2.1pc). Nationally, the figure rose 15pc compared with 2018, or 13pc when adjusted for inflation.
The East was also top of the league for productivity, with a TIFF figure of £634 per hectare of agricultural land, compared to the national average of £438.
The report’s regional profiles offer a snapshot of how various sectors of the East’s agricultural economy performed in 2019, highlighting its traditional strengths in arable, pigs and poultry.
Its top sector was “combinables and sugar beet” with a TIFF income of £1,245m (26pc of the total for England), while “pigs and poultry” brought in £826m (23pc) and “vegetables, horticulture and potatoes” made £701m (18pc). Smaller categories included “beef and sheep” with £110m (5pc), “dairy” with £35m (1pc) and “diversification” with £261m (21pc).
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Defra’s report says: “This region has had the highest TIFF of any region in every year from 2010-19, contributing 22pc of England’s TIFF in 2019.
“In 2019, the East of England made the biggest contribution to England’s output for ‘combinables and sugar beet’ (26pc) and ‘pigs and poultry’ (23pc).
“Conversely there is very little in the way of beef and sheep and almost no dairy, with the dry climate, fertile soils and absence of uplands being much better suited to arable farming. The region is the primary sugar beet producing area of England.
“Regions with the greatest TIFF per hectare in 2019 were largely lowland areas with relatively warm and dry climates, making them more suitable for growing crops. They also tended to generate relatively more output from pigs and poultry (tends to be more intensive) rather than beef and sheep (tends to be more extensive).”