For UK growers, this year, the anxiety is building. Dry weather and soaring fuel and fertilizer costs mean that the yield and margins on the crops they’ve planted are eroding before their eyes.
“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 near Kelfield, south of York. “Potatoes are a high-value crop, so the margin erodes very quickly.”
Fuel has doubled in price, even for the reduced tax “red diesel” used for agricultural machinery and off-road vehicles. And the surge in the cost of “the three Fs” of fertilizer, fuel and feed mean that the business model used for centuries -using the money from last year’s crop to plant and raise this year’s – is perhaps not feasible anymore.
That will have an impact on supermarket shelves. The need for farmers to recoup at least some of these costs will push up the price of next year’s crop.
Photo source: Dreamstime.comun