Rising inputs will put pressure on contracting charges.

Publishing the National Association of Agricultural Contractor’s (NAAC) 2017 charges, the Association chief executive Duncan Russell commented, ‘Whilst prices have not risen significantly since last year, the time is coming that increases are inevitable. We are seeing rapidly increasing machinery purchasing costs, alongside hikes in spare parts and tyres, which simply cannot continue to be absorbed by the contracting sector.’

Farming customers are demanding the latest kit, fitted out in many cases with technology to assist them in decision-making and precision application, which all costs. Whilst contractors like to work with their customers to provide the professional service they require, this needs to become a closer partnership to allow contractors to make the massive investment in capital costs required to purchase and maintain multi-million pound fleets of machinery.

Commenting, NAAC Chairman and contractor Martin Hays said, ‘I just want to provide a good service, on-time to my customers. This is what most contractor’s want, whilst earning a living. However, as machinery costs continue to climb, alongside the costs of other inputs I am having to look hard at my charging schedule and other contractors should be doing the same.’

‘Machinery costs are not static so neither should our charges be,’ continued Mr Hays. ‘Whilst we may be doing ok this year, when it comes to upgrading or trading machines and tractors in coming months and years we may easily find our costs have fallen behind and we cannot make up the shortfall. Farmers will have exactly the same problems and we need to work together so that contractors can make those long term investments in labour and kit to keep the farming industry sustainable for the future.’

The 2017/18 averaged prices are produced on an annual basis and are compiled by collating an average figure for each operation from NAAC members the length and breadth of the UK. This means the actual price may vary considerably between regions, across soil types, distance travelled, size of contract undertaken, size and type of equipment used as well as the amount of product applied etc. However, it must be remembered they are only a guide and farmers and contractors should expect to negotiate individual prices based on each operation.

Prices are based on red diesel at 50ppl.

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About The Author

Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.