Confidence among farmers has been boosted following after the Brexit deal was agreed, agricultural group Wynnstay has said in its annual results.

The Llansantffraid company saw its takings fall by almost £60 million in the last year, as it was hit by a fall in the value of commodities and lower volumes of sales of grain.

But the firm hailed its resilience as pre-tax profits increased by four per cent to £8.37 million.

Revenues were down from £490,6 million in 2019, to £431.4 million as of the end of October.

Company chief executive Gareth Davies said: “Wynnstay’s strengths have been clearly demonstrated in what was an exceptionally difficult year for both the agricultural sector and wider society. Our resilient results reflect well on our balanced business model, strong financial management and recent growth initiatives.

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“The new financial year has started well, and Wynnstay’s performance is in line with management expectations. We remain focused on developing our channels to market, investing to build capacity and capability, particularly advisory, and implementing efficiencies.

"Stronger farmgate prices, the EU settlement and UK Agricultural Bill continue to buoy sentiment across the farming sector. We believe that Wynnstay is in an excellent position to help farmers adapt to new priorities set by the Agricultural Bill, and look to the future with confidence."

The company's annual financial results also highlight the ways the business has been adapting to coronavirus.

Wynnstay said that it would have faced a difficult year even without the impact of the pandemic, as low confidence among farmers and a poor harvest hammered the sector, but the business hailed its staff for adapting to the Covid environment.

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"The challenges over the financial year were significant even without the coronavirus crisis," a statement accompanying its results read.

"We started the financial year with subdued farmer confidence, arising from lower farmgate prices and connuing Brexit uncertainty.

"The abnormally wet 2019 autumn severely disrupted planning, resulting in one of the worst seasons on record and consequently low demand for arable inputs and a historically poor autumn harvest and reduced grain trading.

"The onset of the coronavirus pandemic created further difficulties.

"However, our teams responded magnificently and, as an essential service provider, we worked hard to rapidly adopt new safety practices so that we could continue to operate all our sites while ensuring the welfare of our colleagues, customers, suppliers and communities."

The company also said it foresees a brighter outlook for the industry.

"Now that a non-tariff trade agreement has been concluded with the EU, the picture for UK agriculture is significantly clearer as we start 2021, and a major uncertainty has been removed," the statement added.

"We expect to see investment recommence and the sector move forward, with UK food producers also having the ability to seek new markets for agricultural products. The UK Agriculture Bill will change the way that farmers are supported by the Government, and we ancipate that a more resilient agricultural sector will result.

"We also expect opportunities for Wynnstay to provide support as farmers focus on environmental investment and efficiencies. We therefore view medium and long-term prospects for our industry positively."