Rising machinery prices a major concern for agri-contractors

Agri-contractors say the escalating cost of machinery is now their second biggest worry
Agri-contractors say the escalating cost of machinery is now their second biggest worry

Rising machinery prices are rivalling bad weather and breakdowns when it comes to the main worries keeping agri-contractors awake at night, according to a survey.

Breakdowns and weather problems continue to be agri-contractors’ biggest challenge, but the rising cost of machinery is catching up, NFU Mutual research shows.

Contractors put the escalating cost of machinery as their second biggest worry (28.6%), as contracting margins remain tight amid rising prices for new and used farm machinery.

Difficulty employing trained workers was rated as the third most serious concern (21.4%).

The impact of the changes to UK farm support came in at number four in the survey.

Charlie Yorke, agriculture and technology specialist at the rural insurer, said the cost and availability of machinery was a 'growing challenge' for the industry.

With demand high and availability low, he recommends that contractors establish accurate values for their machinery and make sure they are fully covered should the worst happen.

“Despite modern technology, the weather still has the power to disrupt harvesting and other farming activities," Mr Yorke said.

"Contractors face huge challenges getting all their clients’ work done when Britain’s unpredictable weather makes field work impossible.

"Machinery breakdowns are always a risk even in the best maintained machinery fleets," he added.

A separate NFU Mutual survey of the factors farmers rate highest when selecting contractors revealed trust and relationships were top of the list.

Mr Yorke said: “It’s important contractors put effort into developing good working relationships and ensure they have appropriate insurance for the work they’re doing so their clients have full trust and confidence.”