Defra’s Agricultural Price Index, which tracks and weights prices paid and received by farmers, shows output prices plummeted nearly 12% in the year to March 2015.
Almost every farming sector suffered farmgate price drops across the year, according to the index which takes 2010 as its base.
This was slightly offset by a 5% fall in the cost of inputs, helped by the world oil price, which plummeted last year, reaching a low of below US$50 (about £30) a barrel in January 2015.
Oil prices have since started to pick up and motor fuel prices were 4.1% higher in March compared with the month before – the first increase since July.
Dairy farmers suffered the biggest fall in output prices, with a drop of almost 26% compared with March 2014. Defra’s farmgate milk price (an average across all contract types) stood at 24.99p/litre in March 2015 compared with 33.71p/litre for the same month last year.
Potato growers, as expected, suffered a 19% fall in output prices compared with the year before. Latest figures from the Potato Council put the GB free-buy average at £97.65/t in the week to 15 May – whereas the same week last year was £136.62/t.
Index of agricultural inputs and outputs, Defra
|March 2015||One-month change||12-month change|
|Sheep and lambs||117.8||+4.6%||-0.5%|
Index of agricultural inputs, Defra
|Energy and lubricants||105.5||-7.1%||-13.6%|
|Fertlisers and soil improvers||108.1||-1.5%||-1.8%|
|Plant protection products||106.1||0%||+0.5%|
The Agricultural Price Index (API) measures the monthly price changes in agricultural outputs and inputs for the UK.
Defra collect prices from a wide variety sources to produce the monthly API. This includes data from its own surveys, information from the AHDB, and the ONS.