Land use is on the cusp of enormous change as farmers retire and subsidies change.

Sarah Roué, director for Savills Exeter and a specialist in rural land and estate management, has shared what the end of agricultural subsidies mean for the future use and occupation of farmland in the south west.

She says that land use in the UK is undergoing a major review and will result in seismic change due to the redefining of agricultural policy, and the global focus on climate change and biodiversity loss.

These drivers of change come at a time when 36 per cent of all farmers in the UK are over the typical retirement age of 65, up from 31 per cent in 2005.

Over the next 36 months Sarah predicts the volume of farmland coming to the market through sales and new tenancies to be higher than recorded during the past few years as farmers retire and businesses restructure to meet new market and policy opportunities.

This will either be made available to let or to be taken in hand, to farm and to facilitate environmental schemes.

In reviewing their options, landowners will need to take a strategic approach to future land occupation with decision-making that reviews optimum farm size, boundaries of holdings and the provision of fixed equipment at estate-wide scale to maximise efficiencies.

For many landowners, the use of joint venture agreements, such as a contract or share farming, are likely to be recommended.

A joint venture where executed correctly, with the landowner actively farming and bearing risk, should protect the asset from inheritance tax liability under the present taxation regime, which is a key motivator for many.

As landowners develop their ESG policies, the need to reconcile ambition from within tenanted land is likely to become a challenge.

Environmental skills and knowledge will become very important attributes when selecting a new tenant or business partner.

The long term nature of environmental uplift is not conducive to short tenancies, and deciding who owns the uplift can be difficult - so licenses, contracts or collaborative enterprises may be better solutions.

What is clear is that landowners have the ability to bring together a wide range of stakeholders and this will be essential in order to deliver joined-up and effective environmental provision.