The effect of spiralling costs on Welsh farmers’ ability to produce food has been highlighted in a survey conducted by the National Farmers' Union (NFU) Cymru.

The poll of over 700 farmers across Wales, covering all sectors, shows that 71% of Welsh farmers intend to reduce production next year as a consequence of these increased costs and other factors.

54% of beef farmers stated that they will be reducing stock numbers in the next 12 months, averaging out at an estimated 10% cut in cattle numbers.

Meanwhile, in the sheep sector, 46% of farmers said that they will be reducing their flock with an estimated average 7% reduction in stock numbers. 40% of dairy farmers said they would be reducing milk production in the next 12 months, with 39% of arable farmers saying their crop production levels would reduce over the next year.

21% of poultry producers said they would be reducing bird numbers.

Of those Welsh farmers who said they planned to reduce production next year, 79% said it was due to increased costs imposed on their business.

Other issues leading to a reduction in production included insufficient returns from the market (53%), the impact of Welsh government’s Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) regulations (44%) and other government regulation (41%).

NFU Cymru president Aled Jones said:

“Welsh farmers are passionate about feeding the nation healthy, nutritious and affordable climate friendly food.

"For many months we have been hearing the struggles that our members are facing with rising costs at the farm gate.

"However seeing those collective intentions in the results of this survey paints a worrying picture on the effect this is going to have on Wales’ food producing capacity."

Jones added that given the concerns around food security across the globe, the survey findings show that doing nothing is simply not an option.

He said:

"As a nation we cannot see our capacity to produce food compromised.

"We are at a critical crossroad and we ignore the impact these pressures are having on food production at our peril."