MANY FARMERS could face higher fuel bills during autumn cultivations as soaring oil prices put pressure on red diesel suppliers.

US light crude hit $50 a barrel on Tuesday (Sept 28), levels not seen since the early 1980s, while London‘s Brent crude exceeded $47 a barrel.

Prices have risen again as political tension in Nigeria adds to continued uncertainty over Middle Eastern supply and slow US production in the wake of recent hurricanes, say traders.

Agricultural Central Trading product manager John Ringwood said red diesel prices had climbed almost every day this week, closely following the rise in Brent crude values.

“An average price today would be about 27p/litre, up from 26p/litre on Monday, although the price will vary on the area and the distance from a terminal.

“We began the year at about 20-22p/litre. With an increase of about 30% on last year, many farmers can expect to see variable costs rise this season.”

BLOB Oil prices eased slightly on Wednesday, Sept 27, following reports that the Nigerian government had begun peace talks with rebel fighters.

But some analysts expect prices to remain close to $50 a barrel.