Arable inputs steady
PRICES of main arable inputs have shown no increase over the past six months, according to MAFF figures.
Fertiliser costs fell most, largely due to high imports of nitrogen bought with a strong £. Little price increase has been seen so far this year as pressure on incomes slows farmer buying.
Agrochemicals also slipped back in price over the same period, though by a lesser amount. Low cereal prices are expected to maintain stability this season.
Machinery costs have levelled off in the past year. A strong £ pressurising import prices is thought partly responsible.
But the crash in cereal prices has offset any savings. According to the MAFF price index, which uses 1990 as the base year (100), the value of cereals fell below 80 in the past six months (it was at 100 in harvest 1996). Machinery and sprays both stayed above 120, while fertilisers fell to 90.