With less than seven months to go until Brexit, government has asked industry leaders to assess the impact on UK food and farming if an extreme no-deal Brexit happens.

At last months Tory Party Conference the subject of food tariffs was raised by the NFU and the Food and Drink Federation.

Farm organisations have been warned to examine their sectors to see how they will fare if tariffs on food imports are abolished.

This would result in tariff-free food imports to the UK, despite shipments out the country being subject to export tariffs.

Even though this is the most extreme outcome, government have warned farmers to plan for all outcomes as Brexit negotiations continue.

It’s said, sheep farmers will be most affected by this outcome, which is why venison enterprises are on the rise.

The Farmers Weekly reported that sheep producers will face double the amount of cheap lamb imports, with tariffs of up to 60% on some exports.

Therefore, the venison sector is becoming popular. According to the Venison Advisory Service, the UK venison market increased by 10% in 2017.

So what is the cost for setting up a deer enterprise? 

Venison is one of few red meats that’s seeing high consumption growth in the UK. This is why a growing number of livestock farmers are looking into the market.

The appealing price of £5-£6/kg for venison and very few set up fees are attracting farmers to the sector the most.

However, fencing and health and safety are the main costs when setting up a venison enterprise.

The regulations for fencing are that it must have wooden or steel posts and must be 1.9-2 metres high. It’s been proven that recent farmers have fenced five fields for £6000 with wooden stakes.

If you don’t have the funds to build suitable deer fencing look into what finance options are available.

Moorgate Agricultural brokers offer asset finance for fencing, which essentially involves the same principles as buying a car.

With a quick turnaround, you will be able to receive finance and start up your deer enterprise quicker.

This will put you ahead of all the other farmers who are moving from sheep to deer farming.

Another challenge many livestock farmers face when starting a deer enterprise is the breeding stock costs.

The Farmers Weekly reported that yearling hinds are around £400, whilst mature hinds can cost £500. Stags are around £1,500 and two year olds at £2,500.

This may make running a venison enterprise sound like a costly affair, however there are finance options available to help with this.

Moorgate brokers can provide an agricultural loan to help you purchase your live stock.

And, the positives still outweigh the negatives, especially with the uncertainty around Brexit and agriculture.

Pros Cons
Carcrass value at £300 and £5/£6/kg. Fencing and handling systems are costly.
Grass-based enterprise Travelling long distances for slaughtering and help.
Only small adjustments needed for farm buildings to be suitable. Can be health and service issues.
Livestock farmers already have stockmanship skills. Lack of breeding stock available.
Growing demand for venison Limited venison processing facilities.

And how much does it cost to keep deer?

The costs of keeping deer are variable but they are around £2.70-£3.20/kg.

Feed for deer is reasonably cheap as they mainly eat grass and forage-based foods.

Moorgate Agricultural brokers offer finance for livestock feed and additional costs, such as vet bills.

It’s important to remember that once a deer enterprise is established there are very few running costs, in comparison to traditional livestock enterprises.

Many farms have already halved their number of sheep to invest in red deer to diversify their income and prepare for the future.

With an uncertain Brexit outcome for the agriculture sector preparing for all possibilities is essential.

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