Weather, tumbling beef prices and Brexit uncertainty hit returns for mart and rural service firm H&H Group in the year to the end of June.
Profits fell from £909,000 the year before to just £31,000. Total sales were down £1.1 million to £13.6m.
Group chief executive Richard Rankin said: “Most of those reduced sales were in the farm stock division, with the weather from summer 2018 hitting throughput and lower prices resulting in lower returns.”
He welcomed a turnaround in performance in the first quarter of the company’s current financial year.
He added: “Prices are still down, but sales have been better than expected and beaten our targets.
“There may have been a bit of bringing forward sales before a possible Brexit, but it has been largely driven by much better grass growth this year.”
Mr Rankin expects some more uncertainty as the Brexit date looms, but said an asset base of £17.2m gave the company protection and although no dividends are to be paid this year, he reassured clients and farmers that the company was strong and safe and looking at ways of future-proofing its operations.
The company’s specialist rural insurance broking arm saw growth and is now available in North Wales.
However, there was pressure on its estate agency division, with Brexit uncertainty hitting property sales of all types. There has also been consolidation in a printing business the company owns.
In a volatile economic environment, Mr Rankin urged farmers to speak with H&H’s auctioneers to understand what the market wants and help them deliver the right stock at the right time.