Rural Business Research Unit

We are currently recruiting farmers to take part in the Farm Business Survey in 2021


 Contact us to find out more


Independent research, data and analysis

Based at the Sutton Bonington Campus, the RBRU is a team of   researchers who collect and analyse business data for the Farm Business Survey (FBS). The Nottingham unit collects data from approximately 260 farm businesses across the East and West Midlands and Cheshire. Nottingham is one of six units in the Rural Business Research (RBR) consortium, comprised of leading agricultural Universities and Colleges. Since it began in 1936, The Farm Business Survey has become the most authoritative source of information on the economics of farm businesses in England. 

A tractor working in a field with wildflowers in the foreground


The Survey is undertaken annually, and is the largest independent and most extensive business survey of farms in England, commissioned by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and supported by the farming unions.



Oil Seed Rape flowers against a cloudy sky

lots of little piglets suckling

For farmers and for farming

The Farm Business Survey has no commercial interest and is a free, confidential and voluntary service for farmers. The figures inform on the state of the agricultural and horticultural industries and are also used by the press, teachers, researchers, unions and associations.

The information the Rural Business Research Unit collect for the Farm Business Survey is used as the foundation of economic evidence to inform agricultural and environmental policy decision, and is particularly vital as agricultural policy is currently undergoing reforms for a post Brexit era.

For the benefit of farmers, the RBR produces practical business management accounts, and the results from the Farm Business Survey are used to provide a free, online benchmarking service available to everyone. Using the benchmarking enables the comparison of margins and costs per farm, hectare or livestock unit with averages for farms of the same type.


Flock of black faced sheep in front of a dry stone wall

A growing wheat crop under a blue sky with clouds 

Several black and white cows grazing green grass



Rural Business Research Unit

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Leicestershire, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 6070