Farm input costs rise faster than inflation

Farm input costs have soared by 35.53% in the past year, according to the latest figures from the agricultural purchasing group, Anglia Farmers.

Rapidly rising agricultural inflation means an average-sized 300ha mixed farm spending £360,000 on annual inputs must find an extra £120,000 this coming year.

Spiralling input costs are outstripping food prices which have increased by 13.7% in the past year.

The Anglia Farmers Agricultural Inflation Index is based on prices from the group’s purchasing office on 95 products.

Analysts used calculation methods similar to those used for the retail price index (RPI), where products are grouped and then weighted.

In addition to the overall agricultural inflation index, there are five enterprise sectors for combinable crops, potatoes, sugar beet, dairy and beef and lamb.

The cost of fertiliser, which has risen by 156% in the past year, accounts for half the overall increase.

Clarke Willis, chief executive of Anglia Farmers, said input costs were increasing at an alarming rate.

“While farmers have seen wheat and malting barley increase significantly in value, even taking into account recent falls, not all crops – such as potatoes and sugar beet – have been so lucky.

“Feed costs have risen by 44% which will soak up any gains made recently in the market place for milk, beef or lamb.”

The cost of new machinery other than tractors also risen steeply, with the same piece of equipment costing up to 20% more than a year ago.