LONDON (Reuters) – An estimated 4 million British farmers will lose their jobs to the shift to a crop rotation system by 2021, the country’s largest farming group has warned, as Britain gears up for a record harvest.
More than half of Britain’s 1.3 million farmers are expected to lose their work, which is being led by a growing number of large-scale growers who have made a significant investment in new equipment.
In the past five years, British farmers have spent an estimated £30 billion on the switch, which allows them to harvest a single crop with two rotating machines at once.
The change has led to widespread economic gains and a surge in the number of farms in Britain, as well as boosting British exports and helping to support the countrys largest domestic industries.
The switch was announced on Monday by the British Grain Growers Association, which represents more than 500 British producers.
It said the system had been “very successful” but would not be extended until 2021.
But the BGGA said the number and nature of the losses would depend on the timing of the switch.
“It will not happen this year.
It will take a year or two,” said John Lewis, BGGB’s chairman.
“We will be talking to the farmers and getting their views on the changes.”
In 2019, Britain will harvest a record amount of grain, with 4.3 billion pounds ($6.6 billion) of that amount being exported.
The government is now planning to increase this to 6.5 billion pounds and a target for 2020 to 7.5 trillion pounds.
The Government has also said it would introduce a “sustainable” crop rotation, meaning farmers will no longer be required to buy equipment that costs up to 10 times the average crop yield.
Under the new system, the first rotation is expected to take place in 2021 and the next in 2022.
“Farmers will be able to access their money and be able, at a reasonable cost, to invest in the new machinery and the infrastructure they will need to continue to produce their crops,” said the BAGA.
“This will mean they can continue to do what they do, and be rewarded for doing it.”
The switch has attracted the backing of other farmers and businesses, who have welcomed the prospect of increased profits.
“We are all working together, and we are all on the same page,” said Andy Hill, president of the British Wheat Growers Federation.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to give people more money.”
The BGGC, which advises the government on the crop rotation scheme, has already suggested a series of changes to the farming model, including changing how crops are graded and allowing farmers to choose the method for their own crops.
“The decision on whether or not we will keep the system in place is the responsibility of the farmers, and the decision to end it is theirs,” said BGGM chief executive Tom Beddoes.
“The new crop rotation plan is one of the key pillars of our agricultural policy.”
The Government said the switch would “make farming more sustainable and effective”.
It said that farmers would be able continue to use the system “as long as they meet the necessary standards for safety and effectiveness”.
The new system will be phased in over the next four years, with growers being given a “two-year trial period” to ensure they can get it right.