The number of farms and farm-related businesses to go bust last year rose by 27% from 2006, and recorded a higher failure rate than any other industry, according to analysts Experian.
A report in the Daily Telegraph says that more than seventy farmers and agricultural businesses went bust in 2007. The dramatic rise is attributed to outbreaks of foot and mouth and bluetongue, and a poor harvest resulting from bad weather.
Looking at all businesses, a total of 18,263 companies folded last year, 9% less that the 2006 total of 20,057. But, there was an increase in failures in nine of 34 business sectors monitored Experian.
The credit squeeze is hitting farming, banking and property industries the hardest, it says.
Agriculture business failures were up 26.8 per cent, compared to building and construction failures – up 2.5 per cent, property up 9.7 per cent, banking and financial services up 9.8 per cent, post and telecoms up 18.9 per cent.
Tony Pullen, the head of business information at Experian, said: “Given the widespread speculation on the likely negative impact of the credit crunch on businesses, these figures are surprising.
“The credit crunch, more stringent lending terms, higher borrowing costs and general concern about the economy could be encouraging more vigilance and increased caution among business managers and owners with regards to cash flow, risk exposure and customers they choose to deal with.”