These prices are down more than 40% on peak prices seen around four years ago and as a result less oilseed rape may be planted this autumn as input costs rise to control both weed and insect pests.
The prospects for arable farming look as similarly poor as other sectors of UK agriculture although unlike the milk sector, where prices vary hugely with the best contracts still offering over 30p/ litre while the worst are around 20p/litre, the price of arable produce does not vary anything like as much.
Prices in the arable sector are dictated by global markets and thus a drought or flood in one of the world’s major arable areas can have a significant impact on prices at home, leading to the rather unhealthy prospect of hoping someone else suffers a poor crop in the hope this bring a rise in global prices. The news is not so good if we are the country affected, as was the case in the wet summer of 2012.
But, in the absence of any such disasters, it’s likely that arable prices will remain subdued. It is not good news for our arable farmers but at least it should mean the price of concentrates to be fed to dairy herds next winter should be down, which will be welcome news for some.