Cow & livestock finance

Livestock farming is big business in the UK – 45,000 farms produced over £16billion worth of livestock product, and more than 60% of all UK farming output in 2021.

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However, with big business come big expenses, and in an industry where margins are notoriously tight and seasonal cash flow problems persist, spending large sums on herd replenishment, feed, and veterinary bills can stretch farms to the limit. Fortunately, this is where cow and livestock finance can help – fast, affordable loans to meet working capital needs, or pay for large-scale investments such as milking sheds, feed processors, and vehicles. Read on to discover more about this agricultural funding and to find the best livestock finance for your farm.

What is livestock finance?

Cow and livestock finance are loans that farmers can use to pay for the important tools and products they need to raise and process live animals, particularly beef and dairy herds. The funding can pay for short-term costs, such as buying cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens, and paying for feed and medical services, or it can pay for investment costs such as plant, machinery and shelters. Depending on the type of loan and the purpose for which it is used, livestock loans may be short-term, paid back in 1 – 7 years, or long-term, with repayment plans over 1 – 25 years. Some loans require no security (collateral), while some may require a charge over land, buildings, or other capital assets.

When to consider livestock finance

Farmers should consider livestock finance for the following reasons:

  • To increase revenues from livestock expansion or more efficient animal processing.
  • To offset seasonal cashflow shortfalls.
  • To invest in new buildings, plant and machinery.
  • To remain competitive and offer first-class products and services to clientele.
  • To grow your business.

Attempting to achieve these goals from pure cashflow may be difficult or even impossible, but they are essential for long-term success. Livestock finance removes fiscal uncertainty and allows farmers to grow their business according to a plan. 

Livestock finance falls into two main categories:

Short-term farm loans to cover seasonal cashflow dips. Use them to pay for almost any farm expense – animals, wages, fuel, feed, vets, energy, etc. Pay the loan back over 1 -7 years. May be available with or without security.

  • Investment loans

Longer-term loans to pay for large-scale investments such as sheds, plant and machinery. This funding will usually be provided as a commercial mortgage, development loan, or asset finance. In all cases, the asset performs as security for the loan. Repay over 1 – 25 years depending on the type of loan.

How to apply for livestock finance

Like many things in life, the sooner you act, the better. Leaving financial issues until the last minute can turn a problem into a crisis that can cause long-term harm to your business. Applying for a livestock loan to expand your farm or plug gaps in erratic cashflow is simple: Gather the items in the checklist below, then contact Swoop to get the process started.

What evidence is needed?

To apply for livestock finance, you will typically need:

  • Farm details – including structure (limited company, sole trader, etc), registration number, VAT number, annual turnover, date of incorporation or founding.
  • Owner /director details – including date of birth, address, contact details, marital status and number dependents.
  • Details of use of loaned funds – what will the funds be used for?
  • Last 6 months bank statements
  • Balance sheet and cashflow forecast
  • Property details – if applying for a commercial mortgage or development loan.

How do I find the best finance options?

Cow and livestock finance is a niche lending sector, with different rules of application. Farmers seeking funding may find themselves forever searching and making applications to lender after lender. The delays this can create could cause your farm to lose important business and let your competitors get ahead. Instead, working with a broker, who can access livestock finance from a wide range of lenders, is a better way to go. No more cold calls and endless demands for information. Simply indicate your funding needs, tell us about your farming plans, and leave the rest to us.

Get started with Swoop

Don’t follow the herd. Take the lead. Get the best rate, the best terms and the right livestock finance for your needs. Contact Swoop today.


Written by

Chris Godfrey

Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Barclays Bank, Metro Bank, Wells Fargo, ABN Amro, Quidco, Legal and General, Inshur Zego, AIG, Met Life, State Farm, Direct Line, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of consumer and business finance and insurance.

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