The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC), has published a new survey which says price rises this spring are 'inevitable'.

The survey of contracting prices for 2023 has been published by the giving a national average to help benchmark when working out costings for an operation.

Whilst the UK inflation rate is currently over 10%, the trade association's survey has highlighted more modest increases in contracting rates. Ploughing heavy ground is reported to cost £32.85/acre whilst a combi-drill will cost £32.14/acre. The recommended cost of sheep shearing is now £1.65/ewe with dipping £1.40/ewe.

Whilst there is no ‘one size fits all’, overall soil preparation costs have increased at just over 4%, with the drilling category going up almost 3.5% since last year.

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Within individual services, however, due to the nature of surveys, some prices have increased substantially whilst other have barely shifted.

The costs of fuel, labour and inputs have continued to increase however, and the NAAC said its members should review all their pricing structures to ensure they can remain profitable.

Over 90% of farmers use a contractor, and the NAAC is the only group to represent the interests of land-based contractors.

Responding to the release of the survey's findings, Jill Hewitt, NAAC chief executive, said it was 'simply not defensible' for prices to stand still this year.

"Farmers should be entering into conversation with their contractor to ensure that price rises allow both parties to run sustainable businesses, whilst moving forward in terms of productivity and technology," she said.

The NAAC has also encouraged its members to use its online pricing tool, developed with Andersons Consulting.

The tool allows contractors to evaluate each operation, considering all costs, so that they can see the facts for each job.