Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has said that farmers are adapting to the new challenges posed by rising costs and post-Brexit changes to trade and support payments.

Over 400 beef and sheep farmers responded to a HCC survey about their future business intentions in late 2022 and, although a minority of farmers reported reducing stocking rates in the short-term in response to rising costs, HCC said that “encouragingly”, 43% of sheep farmers reported no change in stocking numbers.

Survey responses indicate that 13% of sheep farmers were planning on increasing the size of their flocks.

Similarly, the survey results showed that 40% of Welsh beef farmers had no intention of changing stocking rates, and 11% were looking to increase their numbers.

HCC head of sustainability and future policy, Rachael Madeley-Davies, said the survey data is “extremely valuable” and will help those who make policy that affects the livestock sector.

“Welsh beef and sheep farmers have provided a wealth of information which gives a nuanced picture of how they are responding to the short-term challenges of rising prices, and longer-term changes in trade and legislative structures after Brexit,” she said.


Survey results showed that a large portion of farmers were proposing to adapt their land management systems in order to become more efficient and sustainable in response to current challenges.

Over 70% reported that they were reducing the use of fertiliser, with many looking to new methods of grassland management through reseeding or rotational grazing to ensure sufficient fodder without additional inputs to the soil, HCC said.

“Rising input costs was cited as the most common concern, but it is interesting to see many adopting progressive efficiency measures in order to adapt,” Madeley-Davies said.

“These farmers will be in a strong position to produce both more profitably and more environmentally sustainably when stable conditions return.

“Other top concerns included uncertainty as to the framework of policy after Brexit, such as support payments, regulations on water quality and future trade agreements.

“A minority of farmers are making generally modest cutbacks on stocking levels, and it’s important that all within the industry recognise that a critical mass of production is vital to sustain thousands of jobs in agriculture, processing and related industries.

“However many are also optimistic about the future, and are investing in their businesses.”