The cost of farming crisis is continuing to bite hard, not least for those keeping beef cattle.

SAC Consulting and The Scottish farmer this week calculated the price of feeding a cow this winter compared to last.

Silage prices across the country have risen due to increased costs in fuel, wages and machinery, which has pushed the price in our estimate per tonne from £32/t to £40/t. Straw prices may not have firmed yet this harvest, but a rise is also likely, with our estimate rising from £65/t to £100/t – however farmers in more remote locations can expect to pay significantly more for additional transport costs.

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Finally, the price of concentrate has risen from around £300/t to £400/t with little sign that it will drop before cattle start coming into sheds. Whilst every farm’s costs are different and our estimate is only a guide, it is important to plan for winter. Based on a typical winter housing of 180 days on a mainly silage diet, the cost of feeding a spring calving cow will rise from £218/head to £280/head and for a straw diet from £277.50/head to £390/head.

This snapshot does not take into account other spiralling prices such as minerals, medicine, rent, fuel, wages or electricity. Importantly most suckler farmers will be operating with some level of borrowing, so a rise in interest rates is also likely to affect thin margins.

SAC consulting beef specialist Calum Smith said: “With increases in all aspects of keeping a beef cow over the winter, the key is to plan ahead.”