Defra Farm Business Survey (1999-2015)

The Farm Business Survey (FBS) provides information on the financial, physical and environmental performance of farm businesses in England to inform and evaluate policy decisions. The FBS is intended to serve the needs of farmers, farming and land management interest groups, government, government partners and researchers. Survey results typically give comparisons between groups of businesses, e.g between regions or between farm types. The results attracting most attention are on farm incomes and productivity. Some of the results are produced and published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), whilst others are produced and published by the Rural Business Research (RBR) team.

The farm business survey produces a number of reports, the most influential of which are.

Farm Accounts (1999-2015) in England is the primary publication from the Farm Business Survey. It provides information on farm incomes, outputs and costs for the various farm types, farm sizes, regions and economic performance. This report can also include information on weather, diversification and succession .

Farm Business Income (2011-15) - Annual statistics on farm business income in England.

Farm Household Income and Household Composition (2005-2015) - Data on farm household income, which comprises Farm Business Income (including that from diversified enterprises), the off-farm income of the principal farmer and their spouse/common law partner and income from other household members. Information also on household composition and farm net worth and assets.

Farm Rents (1968-2015) - Annual statistics about average farm rents in England.

Farmer’s intentions (2010-11, 2013-14) - Farmers’ aspirations and plans for the whole business and for individual enterprises.

Water usage on farms (2009-10, 2013-15) - Estimates of water use on farms in England.

Other analysis from the farm business survey include -

Animal health and welfare (2005-6, 2011-12) - Extensive information on cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry.

Balance sheet analysis and farm performance (2010-11, 2012-13) - This release presents the main results from an analysis of the profitability and resilience of farms in England.

Countryside maintenance and management (2005-11) - Number of farms participating in countryside management and maintenance activity (CMMA) and costs involved. Participation in different types of CMMA also documented (e.g Soil and water protection)

Farm business management practices (2010-11) - Information on farmers qualifications and relevant skills across farm types. Computer usage information also there.

Farm diversification (1998-2010) - Number of holdings participating in some form of diversification, by type of diversification, farm size and farm type. Later reports include the contribution of diversification to farm income. This is now included under farm accounts.

Farm energy use ( 2007-2008, 2011-2012) - Fuel use, fertiliser use, minimum tillage information, dairy feed intake, straw baling, contractor use

Farm Succession (2013-14) - Data about the presence and nature of farm business succession arrangements.

Fertiliser usage on farms (2012-15) - Data (by region) on the quantities of nutrients from manufactured fertilisers that were applied from a subset of farms within the main survey. The use of precision farming techniques, soil nutrient software, clover and legumes in grass swards, green manures and areas subject to fertiliser restrictions.

Milk selling arrangements (2010) - Data on the milk selling arrangements of Dairy Farmers.


Study area


Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic categories
Economy , Environment , Farming , Society
Agricultural Practices Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Fluxes Land use Land Use National Tabular