Banks ‘failing to back beleaguered farmers’

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One in ten farmers who approached their banks in the past month asking for an extension to their borrowing facilities as a result of the cold, late spring were turned away according to a survey conducted by NFU Scotland.

The extent of the damage done to the industry by the weather was also revealed in another finding from the survey where two thirds of the 400 plus respondents had to ask for extended borrowing facilities. Looking ahead, 84 per cent of the respondents claimed they were bracing themselves for lower sales and output this year and almost half were anticipating that they might need additional finance as the year progressed.

Union president Nigel Miller said the survey confirmed that farm finances were “creaking” and that the majority of respondents had had to make arrangements to cover additional costs.

“The analysis of our survey is underway but it is clear the area of winter crop ploughed in is significant and much of the remaining oil seed rape acreage is compromised at best,” he said.

“Extra feed is still being required on livestock farms and costs will continue to mount over the May period. The response on some farms has been the forced sale of livestock earlier than planned.”