RENEWABLE ENERGY tech is now farmers' third most popular purchase, after tractors and trailers.

Finance company Propel surveyed farmers across the country to reveal their economic outlook across the sector, and found that 75% of farmers are looking to acquire assets in the next 12 months.

After a challenging year, with the dual impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, the Propel survey found that many farmers are interested in acquiring new tech, particularly renewable energy equipment.

More than three quarters of those surveyed – 76% – are now exploring the use of high tech equipment on their farms, in particular advanced weather forecasting, DNA soil testing and drone mapping and crop spraying, which points to an ongoing desire to continue to modernise and automate UK agriculture.

Post Covid-19, farmers are also increasingly optimistic about their outlook, with over half of respondents (58%) feeling positive about the financial outlook for the farming industry over the next 12 to 24 months, with 13% giving a ‘very positive’ view.

Commercial director of Propel, Jon Maycock, said: “Diversification in the farming sector is well underway, and at Propel we’ve seen our clients’ continued desire to engage with and invest in technology ranging from herd GPS to items such as robotic laser weed killers, a more environmentally friendly form of weed management to herbicides. We will continue to support UK agriculture through this shift, just as they have supported the nation by putting food on the table throughout the pandemic.

“Despite all the hardships the sector has suffered over the last 18 months, UK farmers have come back swinging. However, the sector’s optimism should not be taken for granted. As farms emerge from the pandemic, it is vital that they are able to access fast and flexible finance to invest in the critical machinery and technology they need to drive future productivity and growth.”