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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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What do UK farmers pay for ag contracting services?

The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) has published a new survey of agricultural contracting prices for 2021-2022 in the UK.

The data gives an UK national average to help contractors and farmers benchmark when working out their individual costings for an operation.

According to the association, “spiralling” input costs have continued to apply pressure across the industry over the last year. The body stressed that whilst prices have increased overall, contractors “struggle to keep pace”.

Local competition and machinery costs

Matt Redman, NAAC chairman, said, “Many contractors report they have difficulty increasing their prices due to local competition.”

“However, the cost of machinery has gone up 40% in the last ten years, with machinery prices rising, some up to 8% in the last year.”

“If farmers are demanding a reliable, efficient, safe and innovative service, they must expect to pay a sustainable rate.’

The association said the expectations on contractors continue to escalate.

It added that environmental awareness, specialist training, record keeping and the latest technology on board, all require a new level of expertise and equipment.

Costing ‘carefully and accurately’

The group said: “Farmers are increasingly reliant on their contractor to take on roles in the business that they may no longer have the labour, skills, or machinery to complete.”

“However, it is vital that everyone works in partnership to ensure businesses can remain viable, with longevity. For a successful contractor, that means costing individual operations carefully and accurately.”

Redman said the industry has the potential to really drive forward agricultural productivity, in an environmentally sound format.

“We are investing heavily in new technology, but we must be vigilant and ensure we can afford the costs of running a business whilst remaining at the forefront of innovation.”

The results of the survey are a useful benchmark to the industry. However, they will “vary significantly” with region, soil type, customer size and machinery, and customers should expect to see prices quoted higher or lower.

While cost is important to any business, the group added, farmers should also be considering the quality, reputation, and reliability of their contractor “to get a job well done”.

Contracting prices in the UK and Ireland 

You can find a guide with rates. Alternatively, you can access the FCI’s Contracting Charges Guide for 2021.

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