Soaring diesel costs mean contractor charges must rise

Contractor rates for harvesting, foraging and other operations must rise this year, due to higher fuel prices, the National Association of Agricultural Contractors’ (NAAC) chief executive, Jill Hewitt, has warned.

She said many contractors would struggle to absorb the rapid increase in red diesel prices – from 38p per litre last year to over 65p this summer – in the job they quoted. “In addition, fuel price is creeping up week-on-week and customers should be prepared that contractors will need to take this into account in their pricing structures.”

Many farmers could be surprised at how much fuel was actually used on a daily basis, she added. A typically full silage-making team running a medium-sized forager used around 2,700 litres of fuel a day, while a combine and two corn carts got through nearer 1,000 litres, she said.

Contractors had tackled higher fuel costs in a range of ways, she continued. “Some are increasing their overall charge, others are looking at a fuel surcharge and some say they’ll review prices as the season goes on. Others are using the farmer’s fuel.”

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