With Freshways cutting milk price and delaying payments, we are starting to see the impact of Covid-19 coming through in to Agriculture. It is essential that you start planning now to minimise the impact to your business.
Feed markets are currently very volatile, but have generally increased due to a weak pound. Uncertainty is certainly making the picture very unclear on the pricing side.
Early indications would suggest there will be little impact to availability of feed at this stage. Rape and Soya would be the main areas of concern due to late arrival and reducing crushing.
Our advice would be to get your feed orders in as early as possible, don’t leave it until a few days before you need it. That applies across the board with minerals, cake, straights and all other farm inputs.
Mineral prices are likely to increase for the next quarter, particularly Bioton, so we suggest getting your April orders in March.
It is very possible that milk buyers will be unable to get wheels under your milk in the coming weeks. Check your insurance policy now so you know exactly where you stand. Many clients I have spoken to who insure with the NFU are covered to a certain extent. If you aren’t covered, speak to your insurer now to discuss the options for having this cover added to your policy.
Milk price cuts are possible, and beef/cull cow markets will also be hit, so plan now for a reduced income and speak to you bank immediately about your potential requirements, speaking to them early helps to reduce issues and delays later on. It appears that Dairy Farming and other animal production will not be eligible for the Government backed loan fund which provides security for the bank, but many of you will have the security available anyway, so the banks will be willing to help through extended overdrafts and short term loans.
If you have payments becoming due to HMRC and you think you may be unable to pay on time because of the impact of Covid-19, you can call the dedicated HMRC helpline on 0800 0159 559. They will discuss a payment plan with you over extended terms.
Avoiding the spread of Covid-19 at farm level is essential to ensure you keep a fit and healthy work force to get the essential jobs done. Its very important to follow the guidance at https://tinyurl.com/vlrbzqo to reduce the risk as much as possible. It is also important to put a policy in place for small farm offices and staff rooms, a policy of 1 person in the room at a time would be sensible, but also to keep surfaces disinfected and hand sanitiser or hand washing facilities available.
We have cancelled all face to face contact on farm, and we suggest you restrict visitors to the farm as much as you.
The Government has announced a range of measures to support businesses through this outbreak. We are still awaiting publication of the detail, but at this stage it appears there will be little help available for farming businesses. The exception to this will be if you have diversified and have non-farming businesses on the farm. Please get in touch with Sam if you would like to discuss the possible support available to you.
Statutory Sick Pay relief package – agriculture will be eligible for this. If you have members of staff off because they have symptoms or are self isolating, they will be entitled to SSP only, and you will be able to reclaim this from the Government in the coming months.
small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief – unlikely that Agriculture will qualify
the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – unlikely that Agriculture will qualify
the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme – agriculture will be eligible for this. Please see details above.
This is going to be a very difficult time for everyone. We are all here to support you if you need anything at all. Our office is currently closed, but we are available by mobile or email. Contact details for the whole team are below. We can also arrange conference calls, video calls and remote computer support if needed. We will still be making farm visits where necessary but the only face to face contact we will be having is with cows and goats! We will not enter any farm offices etc, and will follow strict hygiene procedures throughout our visit.
Keep yourselves safe.
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