Ground limestone for spreading on agricultural land has risen by £10/t in recent weeks as agri-contractors offering the service encounter supply challenges.
Contractors are now quoting prices of £30/t to £35/t of lime spread, up from the relatively static £20/t to £25/t seen in recent years.
A combination of factors have led to the price increase.
These include growing demand for limestone within cement manufacturing and in roadworks, with both outlets offering quarries mining limestone greater financial returns.
In addition, granulated lime has seen increased demand in response to the surge in fertiliser prices, again creating competition for raw material, while lime quarries are also facing higher costs on the back of the planned switch to white diesel from 1 April 2022.
With dry conditions in January, and farmers keen to correct soil pH to ensure they make best use of expensive fertiliser, lime contractors report that they have already begun work in fields.
Also rising in cost is silage wrap, which is set to go up £200/t as a result of a new plastic packaging tax ruling by HMRC which becomes law on 1 April 2022.
The tax applies to plastic packaging manufactured and imported into the UK that does not contain a minimum 30% recycled plastic.
Silage wrap does not currently meet this specification and is therefore set to incur a potential price increase of 10% unless government makes an exemption.
Farm organisations have called for the tax to be scrapped for silage wrap, with the issue raised in the House of Commons last week.
Few merchants currently have wrap in stock, but where available, price quotes were around £70/roll. This would rise to close on £80 as a result of the proposed tax.