More than nine months after the first case of foot and mouth disease, the virus is still having a major effect on farmland prices, according to a survey conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The Institute's research, published yesterday, showed that the price of farmland has fallen to £7,674 (US$11,239) per hectare from £7,923 per hectare over the last two quarters alone.

Land utilised by the beef and sheep sectors was hardest hit, and rural chartered surveyors expect prices to fall further over the coming year, as FMD restrictions are gradually eased.

Julian Sayers, chairman of the RICS rural faculty, is quoted in the Birmingham Post as saying: "As more land comes onto the market from the infected areas it will impact on values. The slowdown in the economy, and with it the residential market, means that residential land sales will not be able to boost overall farmland prices."