Farm Business Survey
Series giving information about the Farm Business Survey for England.
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, for example between regions or between farm types. The results attracting most attention are on farm incomes, farm rents and productivity. Some of the results are produced and published by the Defra, whilst others have been produced by contractors of the FBS.
The FBS is commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), with the data collection activities contracted out to an external supplier. Until 2022, the contract had been held by Rural Business Research. The current contract has been awarded to Promar International. Promar are a leading provider of agricultural consultancy services with a wealth of knowledge and skills in handling data for farmers and using modern farm management software such as Agstute to securely process complex agricultural data. Promar will use these skills to bring improvements and to modernise the data collection process of the FBS which will increase the value of the data collected and reduce the burden on participating farms.
For further information on the change in contractor see Changes to the Farm Business Survey.
Latest FBS reports
Further FBS analytical tools can be found at Farm Business Survey website. The website includes Government Office Region reports, benchmarking information and the databuilder where users can extract aggregated FBS data for England and Wales.
Archived Defra publications
Defra reports published before 2013 are available from the National Archive.
Archived Rural Business Research publications
Historic enterprise reports (2021/22 and earlier) from Rural Business Research can be obtained from the RBR website.
As part of our ongoing commitment to compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics we wish to strengthen our engagement with users of FBS Statistics and better understand the use made of them and the types of decisions that they inform. Consequently, we invite users to advise us how the FBS data is being used and feedback how methods could be improved. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in taking part in the Farm Business Survey?
Defra are extremely grateful to the farmers and growers who already participate in the survey, many of whom have been involved for a long time. Each year a number of additional farmers and growers will be offered the opportunity to participate in the survey and in return can receive the free benefits.
In return for taking part in the survey, Promar will offer the following benefits for free;
- Access to financial farm management software Agstute, (worth £600/year to the farmer). You can of course continue to use your own accounting and management software if you prefer
- Reconciled management accounts for your farm
- Tailored feedback on aspects of your business performance, including benchmark reports (comparing your farms data to that of a similar type and size in your region)
If you are interested in knowing more about participating in the survey, please contact Natalie at Promar: 07890 425 834 or Natalie.Stoppard@genusplc.com.
Farm Accountancy Data Network
Prior to the UK leaving the European Union, the FBS was subject to the EU legislation governing the Farm Accountancy Data Network. Council Regulation (EC) No 1217/2009 obliges member states to collect the information and imposes confidentiality constraints on the data. Subsequent Commission Regulations lay down detailed rules on implementation. Defra’s final submission to FADN was the 2020/21 FBS data. For more information on FADN and to access the UK’s FADN data see the FADN website.
Similar surveys are conducted by all four countries of the United Kingdom, results for which can be obtained from:
Farm accounts in England
Farm accounts in England is the primary publication from the farm business survey.
Farm business income
Farm business income is designed to compare performance across different types of farming.
Coronavirus support schemes, grants and loans
Estimates of coronavirus (COVID-19) related support schemes, grants and loans made to farms in England, sourced from the Farm Business Survey
Total factor productivity for England by farm type
Estimates of total factor productivity for England for selected farm types using the Farm Business Survey.
Farm household income and household composition
Information on the income and composition of farm households in England.
Estimates of average rents paid in England.
Farmers’ aspirations and plans for the whole business and for individual enterprises.
Farm business management practises
Information on business management practices adopted on farm in England.
Balance sheet analysis and farming performance, England
Statistics on the profitability and resilience of farms in England.
Fertiliser usage on farms
Estimates of fertliser use on farms in England sourced from the Farm Business Survey
Water usage on farms
Estimates of water use on farms in England sourced from the Farm Business Survey.
Machinery investment on farms in England
Machinery investment on farms in England statistics sourced from the Farm Business Survey.
Other analysis from the farm business survey
- Characteristics of high performing dairy farms in England
- Characteristics of high performing grazing livestock farms in England
- Characteristics of high performing cereal farms in England
- Ecological Focus Areas: features on farms in England 2015/16
- Ecological Focus Areas: features on farms in England 2014/15
- Fertiliser usage on farm, England 2012/13 and 2013/14
- Farm succession, England 2013/14
- Farm energy use
- Animal health and welfare practices on farm
- Countryside maintenance and management
- Historical Agri-environment analysis reports based on Farm Business Survey data
Technical notes and guidance
Technical information, notes and guidance on the farm business survey.
Last updated 10 March 2023 + show all updates
Added link to Changes to the Farm Business Survey.
Added link to new Historic page for Farm rents.
Added link to Coronavirus support schemes, grants and loans statistics.
Added link to Historical Agri-environment analysis reports based on Farm Business Survey data page.
Added links to dairy, grazing livestock and cereal farm economic reports which can be found listed under 'Other analysis from the farm business survey'. Also fixed several broken links on collection page.
Add link to the total factor productivity by farm type documents page.
Updated link to new stats notice, machinery investment on farms statistics.
Added group called farm business management practices, to include latest and historical statistic pages.
Added link to Ecological Focus Areas: features on farms in England 2015/16 publication.
Added Water usage on farms: results from the farm business survey, England 2015/16 link and absorbed 2014/15 page link into historical water usage link.
Updated with links to latest and historic balance sheet analysis and farming performance in England.
Updated with link to household consumption. 2014/15 landing page.
Updated to include latest fertiliser usage statistics.
Added new Ecological Focus Areas page.
Updated to include Farmer's Intentions survey (livestock farms) 2014/15.
Updated with water usage on farms in England 2014/15 and link to historic page.
Water usage on farms: Results from the Farm Business Survey, England 2013/14 added.
Updated to include historic farmer's intention document series.
Fertiliser usage on farm – England 2012/13 and 2013/14 added.
Added Farm Succession - England 2013/14
Updated with historic data.
Updated with historic data.
Updated with links to the Farm Accounts in England 2013/14 publication.
Updated farm household income and household composition 2012/13.
Updated to include balance sheet analysis and farming performance in England statistics notice.
Added link to the farm account in England 2012/13 publication.