Contractors fear silage costs will reach record highs

Soaring input prices could see silage costs on farms hit record highs this year.

High fertilizer, fuel and plastic prices could push silage costs to over €30/bale (excluding land cost), further fueling already skyrocketing farm input inflation in 2022.

The association of Agricultural and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) published its guide to contractor charges in January and fears it is already outdated.

“There is not a contractor in Ireland who is looking forward to the silage season this year,” says FCI Managing Director Michael Moroney.

“It’s not just one thing that has increased, it’s everything. Take, for example, green diesel. It cost me nearly €5,000 to fill my 10,000 liter tank two years ago.

“This year, to refuel, it costs me €10,000. That’s over 100% of an increase in my diesel costs alone. »

The FCI had budgeted €15-16/bale, excluding plastic, for shearing, wrapping and wrapping, but Mr Moroney says those figures are already out of date and the actual cost is likely much higher.

“We made this cost list in November/December and published it in January this year, but we will probably have to change the figures again because the cost of everything from plastic to diesel and parts has increased so much over the course of the last few weeks,” he said.


“And anything can happen before the silage season. The costs could go even higher – no one knows.

Fertilizer costs are estimated at €7-7.30/bale, with urea prices now trading at €930-970/t. Meanwhile, the cost of spreading slurry is also expected to increase this year to between €3 and €3.60/bale. Added to this will be the rise in the price of packaging, which is expected to cost up to €4/bale this year, with a roll of plastic trading between €100 and €120.

Farmers will also need to budget €1-2 to bring bales etc. for transporter or their own diesel/transport etc.

Teagasc beef specialist Aidan Murray told the Independent of agriculture farmers “are going to have to make silage this year”, but they can minimize their exposure to high prices.

“Farmers should consider keeping as much silage stock as possible this year to reduce the amount of silage that will need to be harvested,” he said. “Although soil conditions are currently poor, particularly in the west, farmers should take every opportunity to get out of stock.” Slurry is another area where Murray said farmers could save money,
pointing out “that every 1,000 gallons of cattle manure is worth around $40 from a fertilizer standpoint.”

He also encouraged farmers to use urea-based nitrogen (N), adding that “per kilogram, it’s the most cost-effective source of nitrogen this year.”

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