Farmers in the South West are being advised to take a close look at the viability of their businesses in view of the challenges posed by Brexit.

Land agents Cart Jonas recommend that before any decision is made, differences in profitability should be examined and the performances of every enterprise costed and assessed.

James Stephen, rural partners said: “In this context, a change in the farm support regime post-Brexit seems almost inevitable. Indeed, this may have a more significant impact on beef, sheep and arable farmers in particular who, as a general rule, are more reliant on the current area based payments than more intensive dairy, poultry or pig units.

“Beef and sheep farming is obviously of great importance here in the south west and it would be prudent for these farmers to review their business now. Such a review should not only include an assessment of the performance of the farming enterprises, but also all property assets and the skills of the farming family members themselves."

Emphasising that Brexit will pose both opportunities and challenges, farmers should have a clear understanding of the physical and financial performance of their business.

Mr Stephen said: “It is all too easy to carry on doing the same thing because it seemingly works, but this can mask the reality of where one farming or diversification enterprise is subsidising another. This may be something a farmer is happy to tolerate at present, but if things change radically then adjustments might need to be made; however, before doing so, I suggest this is best done from a position of knowledge rather than “gut feeling” alone.

“There is a minority of farming businesses that are probably not viable whatever the outcome, but I suspect the majority will have a future post-Brexit, it is just that they will need to look very carefully at what they are doing at present and be prepared to react to changing circumstances."