Farmer Focus: New buzzword hits the industry

A new buzzword has hit farming over the past few months. Every farming journal has more than one mention of it, and at Cereals 2008 it rivalled the subject of traffic queues in discussions among farmers and other visitors.

It is of course “agflation”. This is a word that we haven’t heard used for a while, and most of my contacts in the City were not really sure what it meant or the implications of it for the farming industry.

Time spent in the farm office over the past month doing cash flows and budgets for the coming cropping year has brought it home what a different playing field we are on compared to two years ago.

Not only has the price of inputs raced up but the days of trust deals seem to have gone to be replaced by 28-day payment requirements.

No longer can we buy fertiliser off the shelf, but we now need to get it on the farm so it is there when we need it.

The effects on cash flows are going to be dramatic over the next 18 months. Put simply to farm the same area in 2009 that you were farming in 2008 you are going to have to put up another 50% to fund your business over this period.

In any situation there is going to be a winner and this time it is going to be the same High Street inhabitants who have seen us through the late payment of the SFP three years in a row.

A few hot days have seen our hay making completed and seed turnip crops swathed, and we would be expecting to start harvesting these at the weekend.

Then with some ground cleared everything will start again and a new season will be under way.

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