Flexibility wanted for tenanted sector progress, survey reveals

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Rising the use and suppleness of our land occupation markets is important for the longer term industrial success of agriculture as a creator of worth, says the Central Affiliation of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).

That flexibility would create alternatives for progressive and new farming companies and for managing change, it maintains.

The organisation’s annual survey reveals an extra yr of low exercise within the let sector, with most new lettings being of naked land.

See additionally: Six of the most typical challenges for tenant farmers

There was a web lack of 3,652 acres within the space of let land in 2022, in contrast with a median annual achieve of 35,000 acres between 1996 and 2003.

“In all elements of the UK, the tenanted sector will solely develop if homeowners who don’t wish to farm instantly themselves see letting land as a horny and regular choice for them to undertake,” says CAAV secretary and adviser Jeremy Moody.

The affiliation’s Agricultural Land Occupation Survey 2022 covers choices made the place tenancies had been granted or ended and the place different occupations modified in that yr.

“Regardless of the variations in tenancy legislation between Scotland and that in England and Wales, all elements of Nice Britain present low ranges of exercise, certainly stasis, within the let sector,” says Jeremy.

“With the sector’s sensitivity to the coverage atmosphere, it stays to be seen whether or not the delinking of funds from land and farming in England will come to unlock letting alternatives and the consequences another coverage adjustments may need.”

The survey commentary refers back to the potential function of the tenanted sector in addressing farming’s productiveness problem, interacting with environmental expectations and discussions of adjustments in tenancy legislation.

These embody the prospect of a brand new Land Use Tenancy in Scotland and suggestions to the federal government made for England by Baroness Rock’s Tenancy Working Group, which got here on the finish of the survey interval.

It additionally raises the query whether or not rising public items choices would possibly present a substitute for letting.

Key findings of the 2022 survey

  • Little beforehand vacant land was newly let
  • There was no important lack of let land to environmental makes use of
  • Most new or re-lettings had been of naked land
  • Continued gradual decline in variety of 1986 Act (AHA) tenancies
  • Seven 1986 Act (AHA) successions had been recorded in 2022, sometimes on bigger, geared up holdings
  • Two‐thirds of the 1986 Act tenancies that ended with no successor had been re-let as farm enterprise tenancies (FBTs), for a median size of 10.68 years
  • FBT lets and re-let phrases in 2022 ranged from six months to 60 years
  • The typical agreed size for all FBTs was 3.66 years, a slight rise, whereas for these working for a couple of yr it was 5.46 years
  • Bigger and higher geared up holdings are typically let for longer FBT phrases – holdings with a home and buildings had been let for a median of just below 10 years
  • 7.6% of recent tenancies had been of entire, absolutely geared up farms with a home
  • Tenants perceived as new entrants secured nearly 11% of all lettings
  • New entrants are usually provided longer tenancies, with 71% of all lettings to new entrants being for greater than 5 years
  • Recent lets had been marginally outweighed by losses from gross sales and let land being taken again in hand in 2022
  • 2,774 acres of beforehand vacant possession land had been newly let on FBTs – a lot decrease than the already low vary of the previous 10 years
  • Gross sales to sitting tenants stay at very low ranges


Farming throughout the UK faces a tougher and industrial atmosphere. As well as, there may be elevated give attention to local weather change mitigation, biodiversity and the administration of soil and water.

With little change within the let land sector proven by its current surveys, the CAAV is contemplating how this may be addressed.

Taxation is one software and the organisation factors to the success of revenue tax reduction within the Republic of Eire for letting farmland for greater than 5 years (see panel – Eire).

That is exhibiting robust and persevering with indicators of success in attracting retiring farmers (of any age) to set free their land to an extent that deserves severe consideration within the UK, it says.

Housing, whether or not for the older farmer or the brand new one, is one other space which requires consideration, and the CAAV is contributing to the work of Defra’s Agricultural Productiveness Process Drive on each of those fronts.

The interplay of the tenanted sector with rising public cash for public items coverage, in addition to different environmental initiatives and alternatives, may even play a component in how land is occupied.

Contract farming agreements (CFAs)

The 2022 survey noticed 20 returns for brand spanking new CFAs, overlaying 3,667 acres with a median unit measurement of 183 acres. That is equal to about 10% of the realm let on farm enterprise tenancies (FBTs) in that yr.

The typical time period of agreements was lower than two years, whereas the typical measurement of the contract space was 183 acres. Areas typically ranged between 150 and 200 acres.

Common time period size in years of recent FBTs granted in 2022

  All FBTs FBTs greater than one-year time period FBTs greater than five-year time period
2013 3.17 4.65 10.84
2014 3.53 4.93 10.26
2015 3.83 5.31 13.16
2016 4.48 5.94 13.42
2017 3.97 4.98 10.7
2018 2.9 4.14 9.73
2019 3.21 4.75 11.84
2020 3.24 4.83 11.5
2021 3.03 4.67 11.54
2022 3.66 5.46 12.45
Supply: CAAV Agricultural Land Occupation Survey 2022


Modifications in let land occupation in Scotland had been additionally at a low stage, with the nation’s let sector each restricted and sustained by the inducement that Fundamental Cost provides for claimants to remain in place, says the CAAV.

Naked land lettings additionally dominated right here, accounting for 67% of lettings in 2022. Simply 8% of lettings included a dwelling, with the rest land let with buildings.

Thirty-six tenancies had been reported to have been let within the yr, overlaying 8,559 acres. Seven of those had been fashionable restricted length tenancies.

There have been 5 successions to current tenancies on 1,153 acres and two voluntary assignations on 320 acres.

Nineteen tenancies ended the place the land was reported as not being re‐let, overlaying 8,724 acres, with six taken in hand, three placed on grazing agreements and 5 placed on CFAs. 5 had been offered, one in all which went to the sitting tenant.


The island of Eire’s tenancy system was dismantled completely over a century in the past, says the CAAV, with proprietor‐occupiers succeeding one another over generations and with very low turnover by sale.

Nevertheless, not all of these homeowners are actually farming and there was an increase in purely seasonal preparations for grazing, with an off-the-cuff adaption of the older conacre (short-term seasonal lets) method.

That is used on about 30% of the agricultural land space of Northern Eire.

“It’s extensively seen as a hindrance to good land administration with conacre takers missing the boldness to put money into liming, biosecure fencing and different enhancements and environmental administration of another person’s land,” says the survey.

That has now led to official assist for a revival of tenancies, each north and south of the border, and promoted by the Gilliland Agri‐Meals Land Consultants Group Report of October 2016, which implicitly checked out selling lettings of 5 years or so.

The CAAV and its native affiliation, the Northern Eire Rural Valuers Affiliation (NIRVA), have created a mannequin tenancy settlement and supporting clarification on tax, agricultural assist and different authorized points.

“The Land Mobility initiative has began work on breaking the log jam, selling agreements between landowners and new farmers. Nevertheless, these initiatives are of their earliest days,” says the CAAV’s Jeremy Moody.

The Republic has additionally been attempting to advertise a extra open land occupation market with tenancies.

Alongside a longtime Land Mobility programme, its measures have included substantive revenue tax reliefs on farmland rents, rising with the size of time period, the place land is let at arm’s size for no less than 5 years.

The important perception behind that is that the true productiveness features come from enabling land for use by the “educated”.

The indications are that this measure has been strikingly profitable in attracting landowners, together with retiring farmers, to let somewhat than use seasonal preparations, the CAAV says.

“This has seen the persevering with recreation of a brand new let sector in Eire since 2015 from a standing begin.

The most recent knowledge recommend that maybe 8% of the Republic’s farmland is now let on arm’s size tenancies of no less than 5 years.”

Concerning the survey

The annual survey is drawn from all 27 of the native associations of the CAAV throughout England and Wales in addition to different our bodies.

It summarises the choices taken about land occupation within the yr from 1 November 2021 to 31, October 2022.

It exhibits the alternatives made about new lettings and what occurred the place tenancies beneath each the 1986 and 1995 Acts got here to an finish.

It covers a complete of 64,468 acres, together with 35,290 acres topic to new FBTs; 3,667 acres topic to new contract farming preparations; 15,912 acres on new grazing agreements and 1,954 acres on which succession to 1986 Act tenancies came about.


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