Rising farming costs lead to lower planting

Spikes in gas prices have been widely blamed for the trebling of fertiliser prices over the past few months which has led farm inflation, but other factors have also played a role in driving the huge increase.

Speaking at the NFUS conference, chief executive of the agri-supply sector’s trade body, the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), Robert Sheasby said manufacturing capacity and global demand along with political crises around the world including the stand-off in Ukraine, had all played their role in driving prices upwards.

Although gas prices have slipped back from their winter peak, they still stand at historically high levels and look set to do so until at least the summer of 2023, said Sheasby.

“Availability of product and the competition for hauliers - which means that guaranteeing delivery in time for sowing could be difficult - are other issues which should be factored in to purchase plans.”

The level of additional costs being faced by some sectors of Scotland’s farming industry was highlighted at the conference by Andrew Faichney, managing director of producer co-operative East of Scotland Growers.

He said that in the coming year costs associated with growing broccoli were set to rise by £1350/ha while that of cauliflowers by £1800/ha.

“And this has led to a 25 per cent reduction in our planned plantings – with three members pulling out altogether,” he said, stating that it in the long term it was important to control production and focus on “growing what you can sell profitably rather than growing as much as you can.”

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