While the majority of people spend July waiting for the days until their vacations Arable farmers also spend the months monitoring their crops and the forecast for weather -to get ready for harvest.
But this year, the fear is increasing. Dry weather , and rising prices for fertiliser and fuel result in the yield and profits from the crops they’ve planted are diminishing in front of their eye.
“Unless we get some rain, we will start to see a significant impact on wheat, and on sugar beet and potatoes, too,” said Richard Bramley, who farms close to Kelfield located to the south of York.
This week Bramley 54, who is a farmer is expected to begin harvesting winter barley. He anticipates that the harvest will be similar to an average year, just as is the case with his oats crop. However, the cost of the ammonium-nitrate fertiliser used by him has more than doubled , from PS260 one tonne in the previous year, to over PS700 which reached PS1,000 per tonne in March.
Fuel prices have doubled even for the less expensive taxes “red diesel” used for agricultural machines as well as off-road vehicle. The escalating costs associated with “the three Fs” of fuel, fertiliser and feed means that the business model that has been used for decades — using cash from the last harvest to grow and grow the next crop Bramley’s opinion is, “not working”.
This will effect on the shelves of supermarkets. The requirement for farmers to cover at least a portion of the cost will raise the cost of the next crop. reports from this month about PS9 butter tubs could not last long. event.
“Some people call farming a gamble, and you’re always trying to hedge your bets, but the risk factors that are coming into play are multiple and more extreme now,” Bramley stated. Normally , the system works however, the fact that everything is going up and the amount of price hikes have affected an apple cart.”
Farmers might not have gotten the full benefit of the higher prices for their crops due to the fact that they typically sell a portion prior to the time of sale in order to guarantee some income, meaning that they are not able to benefit in the event that the market price exceeds that price. The prices for wheat had already increased in 2021. However, they surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 1st, since Ukraine is among the world’s top five exporters. Prices have fallen from their previous highs over the last few weeks, but remain at around PS250 per tonne, which is comparable to PS160 in the previous year.
The livestock industry is a major source of the cost of animal feed which includes wheat is the biggest cost , and a rise that is this large has had a profound impact on how much they’re spending. Paul Tompkins, 42, has a dairy herd of around 350 cows on his farm in Pocklington located in East Yorkshire. Feed prices have increased to PS200,000 by 2021, to an estimated PS350,000 in the current year.
“Dairy cows in the 21st century are like finely tuned athletes,” he added. “Our cows are an individual nutrition specialist. They can’t be cut off from the feed they receive It’s similar to saying that you should feed your children less. If we reduce or remove an additive such as amino acid that will decrease the quantity of milk they produce and the amount we earn.” As with other markets for grain, the market for milk is driven by demand and supply. A global shortage has pushed up prices, and milk farmers “are getting enough to pay the bills”.
The problem for those who want to use policymakers to control inflation can be that “the cost of feed now is still going to be in system in a few more years”, Tompkins declared. “A calf born today will only become part of my milking herd in three years’ time, so the cost of rearing her now is going to be borne in future.”
For horticulture companies that grow vegetables and fruits the prices are set by the retailers they serve instead of by international markets. The retailers are just now getting up to the prices they are charging farmers, as per Guy Poskitt, 59, who is a vegetable farmer, growing carrots and parsnips in 4,000 acres in Selby, North Yorkshire, and also on farms that are contracted situated in Lancashire as well as Scotland.
The other issue that faces the horticulture industry is shortage of people to pack and pick fresh vegetables. This week, it was reported that large amounts of salad vegetables were left to rot in fields due to an absence of pickers.
Poskitt said that his business was struggling to recruit enough staff to load carrots prior to peak times like Easter and Christmas. He also required need to “pay a lot more” to hire the additional hands. Together, higher prices for fuel and fertilizer, as well as the shortage of workers resulted in “everybody I know in the horticulture sector has cut back” because they struggled to pay their bills and expenses, he added. This creates an unintended cycle because the lack of availability of fertiliser and fuel increases the price for consumers , which in turn leads to the general inflation.
Farmers say they’re doing everything they can to reduce their expenses. Poskitt is automating all the steps of packing and picking as he can. However, the equipment is at the expense of its own, while Bramley reduced his use of fertiliser by 15% by 2021. He expects to achieve the same in this year.
Tompkins thinks that government can help the dairy industry to invest more money in boosting production and, consequently, reduce the cost for consumers by putting the stop to new regulations, including the possibility of the cost of Environment Agency permits.
Even though “2023 is going to get really interesting in the food market”, Bramley said during the next couple of months his attention will be on the crop that are ripening in the fields, as well as how much rain will fall.