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Bryant Land and Property historical agricultural commodities comparison

Commodity 2020 (£) 1970 (£)
Av. Price of UK farmland/ac. c.7000 c.2500
Av. Price of Wheat/tonne 198 c.300
Av. Pay/hr for farm worker 8.74 7.02
Av. Price for Urea/tonne 247 417

Spiking wheat prices in the mid-1970s and early-1950s (reaching a peak of c.£650/t in 1950), have been overshadowed by an overall sustained decline in real wheat prices.

Average price of farmland in UK in early 2020 seems to be hovering around the c.£7000/ac. mark, as opposed to the average price of arable land which is at around £9200/ac. Fairly consistent between the £1000-2000/ac. mark in the twentieth century until the early 1960s, after this point in real terms the average price of farmland saw a rapid rise in the UK. The steepest point of this rise has been seen in the period since 2011, up until a peak in early 2015 of just over £8000/ac., with the average price of arable land rising to over £12,000/ac. The supply of farmland on the market has seen a significant decline during this period, with over 700,000 acres for sale in the 1950s, which had reduced by the 1970s to just over 400,000, but today is only just over 100,000 acres.  

While real wages have risen over the period, demand for farm workers has also been through a period of sustained decline. In 1841, 23% of the entire UK workforce were agricultural workers, in 1970, 3.5% and by 2011 this number had fallen to just over 1%. The type of workforce has also seen a significant shift, with seasonal workers and casual labour as a proportion of the agricultural workforce rising from 5% in 1980 to 14% in 2014.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

(2020 Prices are as of April 2020, historic prices are adjusted for inflation)        

Sources: Farmers Weekly,