FARMLAND prices in Scotland have reached record levels despite poor harvests over the last year.

The average price per acre of land reached £4438 in the first six months of this year, according to a survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The price has almost trebled in a decade and experts said farmland was being seen as an "economic safe haven".

The growth in land prices has been driven by increases in the price of farm produce across the UK. Demand for land from investors and farmers looking to expand their operations has allowed the price to grow.

The increase comes despite many farms being hit hard by severe weather over the last year. Heavy rain throughout the summer caused flooding in parts of Scotland, and blizzards in March and April hit many sheep farmers in the west of the country during lambing season.

Mark Mitchell, from land agents Bell Ingram, said: "The Scottish farmland market has remained strong, despite the poor harvest of 2012 and late spring of 2013. Quality farms in good locations will still sell quickly and well, bare land is still the most desirable commodity."

The rise in land prices is expected to continue, with the majority of surveyors questioned by RICS predicting further growth.

RICS director Sarah Speirs said: "The growth in farmland prices in recent times has been nothing short of staggering. In less than 10 years we've seen the cost of a square acre of farmland grow to such an extent that investors - not just farmers - are entering the market.

"And, if commodity prices continue to increase and keep demand high, we may well see further increases."