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HomeFarming NewsMaking silage ‘no longer economical’ for many contractors
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Making silage ‘no longer economical’ for many contractors

The costs of mowing, raking, baling and wrapping grass in the form of baled silage at guideline charge rates, makes the work “no longer economical” for many FCI contractors.

That is the claim the body has made in light of increasing machinery investment costs, soaring fuel prices, fuel supply risks and declining labour availability during 2022.

This has resulted in the need to increase charges to farmers for work, including silage and hay harvesting, it says.

The association pointed to near-drought conditions and low grass yield levels on many farms, especially for baled silage where yields of lower than 1.5 bales per acre are being quoted.

Guide rates

The body updated its contracting charges guide in June 2022 to reflect “huge” increases in agri-diesel costs and machinery inflation, along with other “significant” input cost hikes.

Against this inflationary background, the FCI, at the time said, it is “satisfied” that this revised averaged price guide continues to provide “fair and reasonable” guidance for farm and forestry contractors and their client farmers.

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However, it stressed that all parties concerned must remember that this is only a guide.

Furthermore, the revised guide also includes VAT on all charges quoted, as most Irish farmers are not registered for VAT.

The association highlighted that quoting charges inclusive of VAT for non-VAT registered farmers is “in line” with customer requirements.

It stressed that the actual guide charge may vary between:

  • Regions;
  • Across soil types;
  • Distance travelled;
  • Contract size;
  • Size and type of equipment;
  • Scale of work.

Back in June, it based guide rates on green diesel prices of €1.30/L, as follows:

  • Bale, wrap, stack and move (inc. plastic 4 layers, extra layers additional cost) *For NRF add €1/bale* – €22-25/bale;
  • Bale, wrap, stack and move (excl. plastic) – €15-17/bale;
  • Also, bale and wrap (inc. plastic 4 layers, extra layers additional cost) *For NRF add €1/bale* – €16-17/bale;
  • Bale and wrap including combinations (excl. plastic) – €13-€15/bale;
  • Baling silage (4 x 4) – €9/bale;
  • Bale and wrap (incl. plastic 4 layers, extra layers additional cost) – €20-€22/bale;
  • Bale and wrap (excl. plastic) – €17-€18/bale;
  • Wrap (4×4) (excl. plastic) – €4 -€4.50/bale;
  • Bale transport – €85/hr or €6/bale;
  • Bale stacking – €85-€90/hr;
  • Large square bales of silage (6x4x3) (excl. plastic) – €11-€12/bale;
  • Large 5x3x2 silage bales wrapped (excluding plastic) – €18-€19/bale.

Read more in this news article.

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