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Cereals 2017

In the seventh of its half yearly survey of attitudes in the farming sector, MHA asked a sample of visitors at Cereals how they felt about various current issues. The survey follows on from similar sampling at Lamma and Cereals over the last four years, and threw up some surprising answers.

When asked for a prediction of business growth in the next 12 months, the majority of respondents (51%) foresaw their businesses showing static or negative growth with only 17% expecting growth to be high. These was almost exactly the same proportions as the sample taken at Cereals in 2016, and significantly lower than the feelings at Lamma six months ago where attitudes were more bullish with optimism at 60%. At the time that was attributed to the fall in sterling post Brexit pushing up the prices for agricultural produce. Although prices have held up subsequently, it seems that market and political uncertainty is starting to have an impact.

Over the longer term the 'positivity index' has now dropped from nearly 70% to 49% and the Lamma 2017 result is starting to look out of line with an underlying downward trend. Bearing in mind that attendees at the two big arable events of the year tend to be skewed towards the larger and more prosperous arable farms of the southeast, the results probably under-represent the depth of concerns across the wider industry.