NFU Scotland said the figures showed the system was not working for farmers
Poor farmgate prices, rising input costs and falling support have driven Scottish farm incomes have almost halved in 2014-15, according to the latest Farm Business Income (FBI) figures.
The average FBI fell to £12,600 in 2016, a fall of £11,500.
Dairy farm incomes fell farthest, with the average income falling by 97 per cent as the average milk price fell from 30ppl to 21ppl. Mixed farms also fell substantially, down 81 per cent. The survey does not include information on pig, poultry and horticulture sectors.
When converted to hourly income for unpaid labour, including owners, family members and business partners, 59 per cent of farms would not have had a high enough income to meet the minimum agricultural wage.
General cropping farms had the highest average income at £24,000 but this was still 11 per cent down year on year.
NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall said the figures showed the current system was not working for farmers or crofters.
“Whether producing livestock, crops, milk, poultry, pigs, fruit or veg, farmers and crofters continue to face rising input and compliance costs, declining market returns and an erosion of support payments that are conspiring to threaten the very existence of many.
He called on the Government to commit to ‘ongoing support targeted at active farm businesses’ and guarantee new trading deals will ‘put the prosperity of farming businesses top of the agenda’.
He also urged the food and drink industry to address the imbalance between the profitability enjoyed by retailers and processors and falling incomes at farmgate.
“Scotland’s food and drink sector, lauded for its ongoing success and ambitious targets, must start to deliver for those at the farmgate and who have seen their incomes fall by more than 75 percent since the start of the decade,” he added.