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Fuel prices hit new UK records - How will this affect the farming industry?

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UK fuel prices have soared to record highs recently, with the average cost of a litre of red diesel expected to rise to £1.50 this week. With no end in sight for spiralling pump costs, agricultural law specialist Hannah Webb gives her advice to the farming industry. Hannah specialises in agricultural law and understands the day-to-day challenges faced by farmers and landowners. 

At a time when food security is paramount, farmers are being hit hard which means they are less able to produce the products we need to sustain ourselves. Farmers are also stocking up on diesel due to the fear of rising prices amid the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

12 months ago, a litre of red diesel was around 50p, a month ago, it averaged at 70p, and as of yesterday, it reached £1.37. This means that a farmer driving the average tractor muck spreading for 10 hours a day using approximately 150 to 200 litres of fuel will see their costs rocket from £75-£100 to £205-£274.

Fuel that was previously available is now also taking between two and five weeks to arrive depending on a farmer’s location in the UK and often the farmer is being told the price is as per delivery and not upon order. This means that with fuel prices rising, by the time the fuel arrives to farmers, it could be as much as £2.00 a litre.

People cannot afford to pay rising prices, and from my own perspective, our feeder wagon (an implement used daily on the farm) has just increased by £10 per day and is set to increase further.

With Russia providing 40% of the UK’s requirement for refined diesel, this is only set to get worse. My advice to farmers would be to factor these costs into their daily operations now and consider whether any fuel usage reductions can be made, however ultimately, this is likely to result in an increase in prices for the end-user.