The Farming industry struggling with energy prices

Article posted

3rd Aug 2023

Read time

3-6 min read


Mollie Pinnington

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The energy crisis of the previous year wreaked significant havoc on various industries, with the farming sector being particularly hard-hit. Increased energy costs led to a surge in the price of fuel and fertilisers, exacerbating the already razor-thin profit margins for many farmers.

The fallout of these high energy prices continues to be felt, as farmers struggle to manage costs and maintain their operations. The impact is not only financial but also extends to the food supply chain, potentially causing a ripple effect on food security and prices at grocery stores.


Despite the fact that energy prices have somewhat retreated from their peak last year, the repercussions of that period continue to plague some sectors. Many industries, such as manufacturing and transportation, are grappling with the aftermath, their recovery hindered by the residual financial strain from the surge in energy costs.

Even as energy prices are currently lower, the prior escalation in expenses has left a lasting impact, with businesses having to cut corners, lay off staff, or even shut down operations.

It underscores the vulnerability of these sectors to volatile energy prices and the urgent need for strategies to mitigate such risks in the future.

When the war broke out between Russia and Ukraine at the beginning of last year, bills were pushed right up.  Dairy farmers and other large agricultural businesses found themselves in a uniquely challenging position due to the energy crisis. Their operations are naturally energy-intensive, requiring significant electrical power to run farm equipment, milking machines, storage facilities, and processing units.

Moreover, these businesses also rely heavily on gas for various stages of production, including running machinery, heating, and even in the direct production process of certain goods. Thus, the soaring energy and gas prices deal a double blow to these enterprises, pushing their operational expenses up and further squeezing their profitability.

This situation demonstrates how intricately intertwined the agricultural sector is with energy and underscores the pressing need for sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions in farming.

In addition to soaring energy prices, farming businesses have also been hit hard by disruptions in the global market. The cost of raw materials, machinery parts, and other necessities has skyrocketed due to supply chain issues and increased demand. For instance, the price of steel, necessary for constructing farm buildings and making machinery, has been steadily rising. Essential farming inputs like seeds and animal feed have also not been spared, with their prices reaching unprecedented levels.

The hike in prices of these crucial supplies compounds the financial strain on farmers, making it increasingly difficult to sustain their operations. This shows that the farming industry is not just vulnerable to energy price volatility, but also to fluctuations in the broader global market. The adoption of cost-efficient and sustainable farming practices becomes more pivotal in these challenging times.


For example, the price of animal feed and fertiliser, two critical inputs for farming, also experienced significant growth. This increase put many farming businesses in an extremely difficult position. Animal feed, which constitutes a major portion of the operating costs in livestock farming, became increasingly unaffordable due to the steep price hike.

Similarly, the cost of fertilisers, necessary for maintaining soil fertility and crop yield, also surged. These cost escalations further intensified the financial stress on farmers, making it even more challenging for them to balance their books and stay afloat.

The situation illustrates the multi-faceted challenges that farming and many other industry currently grapple with, where not just energy prices but also the cost of essential inputs can pose substantial threats to farm survival and profitability.

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