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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005, 07:56 GMT
Farming incomes see further drop
Crops
The study looks mostly at crop and dairy farmers
The incomes of British lowland farmers have dropped by nearly a fifth since last year, according to a report.

The annual study by accountancy firm Deloitte predicted further losses in the next year.

With prices low for goods such as wheat and milk many farmers were left with little financial incentive to carry on, said BBC correspondent Tom Heap.

On Wednesday a group of farmers began a three-day "strike" in protest against low prices paid to them by retailers.

Deloitte said the average lowland farmer was currently earning 66 per acre compared with 81 last year.

This is predicted to fall further to 62 per acre next year.

With subsidies that paid for production costs having been changed to a "shrinking" lump sum, farmers were being encouraged not to grow something if they got less for selling it than it cost to produce, said the BBC's rural affairs correspondent.

"On that basis the actual business of producing food is expected to generate an average loss next year of 35 per acre," he said.

Campaigners say around 3,500 farmers are taking part in this week's strike action over prices.

Milk, meat and vegetables are among the goods being withheld to put pressure on retailers to ensure producers "get a substantial return for their product".

Campaign group Farmers for Action, which has organised the stoppage, said peaceful protests would also be held.




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