Agri Market Outlook: The long view

January 2021

We all have an idea of what we want to achieve in our farming businesses and if we’re honest, uncertainty about coronavirus, trade policy or climate probably doesn’t make us re-think those ambitions. However, how we react and respond to these uncertainties does impact our ability to get to our goals – what challenges might we face on the way, how quickly we can achieve them and even how realistic our initial thinking might have been? In any journey, we’re plotting the route, anticipating the bumps in the road or the changes in direction. And critically, we always look ahead. That forward view is no less vital in managing our farm businesses, anticipating the changes that are coming, assessing the potential impacts and planning ahead. All are fundamental to preparing for the challenges that will impact our industry in future.

Red meat

No one needs reminding that the UK’s relationship with the EU changed on 1 January 2021. Where do we stand in terms of our red meat markets, and what changes might we now expect?


Dairy farming in 2021 will be faced with a new set of challenges brought about by new trade and agricultural policies and a heightened focus on sustainability. With so many uncertainties on the horizon, keeping on top of farm performance will be critical, and provide the resilience to adapt to the ever-changing market and policy landscape.


For all arable crops, a farming business and processer can only manage what is in their control and understand their market as far as forward pricing will allow. But even though some decisions made out of our control impact a business, we still have the ability to plan for these changes ahead of time.

In order to navigate the way through the challenges ahead knowing your costs, understanding your cash flow and budget, knowing your end market and knowing how to manage risk in all its forms will place a business in a position to react to the developing new arable market place for 2021 and beyond.


This article discusses recent changes to policy which will impact agriculture and horticulture over the coming months and years. With the UK now outside the EU single market and customs union the start of 2021 has signalled change in areas such as trade and migration policy. There is also the small matter agriculture policy itself which has started to change in England, with changes expected elsewhere in the UK.