Farmers’ diesel and fertilizer prices have doubled since last fall.

“We need good crops. The world needs good crops.”

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If filling your Honda Civic tank for more than $ 70 gives you a steam case, imagine what it would be like to fill a tractor holding a 500 liter diesel.

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This is the case for Jennifer Dwellmann, a crop farmer and seed producer near Douglas, west of Renfrew.

“We use so much diesel to plant and remove crops. We just started last week and fuel costs have doubled,” said Lanark, Arnprior, Ontario Agricultural Federation. , Ottawa, on behalf of Renfrew, says Duelman, who cultivates 1,100 acres with his husband.

As the season for planting crops gets into full swing for farmers, so does the cost of agriculture. And there is no option to wait for a drop in fuel prices.

“Mother Nature is our boss. Literally, you have to make hay while the sun is shining. This is our year’s livelihood,” Doelman said. “Many people don’t understand how helpless we are.”

Diesel, which powers many tractors and other agricultural vehicles, is now more expensive than gasoline. The price of fertilizer has also doubled. In addition to fertilizer issues, eastern Canada is a major consumer of fertilizer from Russia and is now subject to sanctions.

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Valend van Lindenberg, a dairy farmer in the Renfrew region who regularly milks 200 cows and raises a total of about 500 cows, has $ 60,000 to feed the cows so far this year. Estimates to spend $ 65,000 more from. Delivering milk to processors is more expensive, as is farming tools.

“It’s not just fuel, it’s a part of the equipment,” said Van Lindenberg, who plants and harvests crops for other farmers. “Ten or fifteen years ago, I could buy a tractor for $ 1,000 per horsepower, and now it’s $ 1,600 to $ 1,700 per horsepower.”

Even the mundane annual task of spreading fertilizer costs more — but for farmers who are lucky enough to get it, fertilizer may reduce the cost of fertilizer.

“It’s not a bit more expensive, it’s a lot more expensive,” said Al Mussell, an agricultural analyst who is a research leader at Agri-Food Economic Systems, an independent economic research organization.

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“In the spring, farmers pay for fuel and farm tools, and they have to cover it for harvesting.”

Fertilizer is petroleum based. So are some pesticides. Many crops, including corn, rapeseed and wheat, consume large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer. Packaging, tools, timber, and anything else transported by truck will cost more, Massel said.

“Since the early 1990s, we haven’t seen any serious inflation. Inflation is bad. When it works, it’s hard to put it under control.”

There are more. Hiring seasonal workers is difficult and wages are rising. The cost of transporting crops is even higher for farmers living in isolated areas. Doelman corn travels to North Gower for 2 hours for storage.

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Glenny Dam owns the Needhams Market Garden near Pakenham. He sells farm-grown produce, from strawberries to pumpkins and other local products, at farm stores, farmers markets, and three roadside shops.

Just as demand surged shortly before the pandemic began, Needham entered the market for rare tropical plants. But that also meant keeping the greenhouse warm during the winter. Sweet corn is one of his best-selling products. However, it consumes a lot of fertilizer and must be picked by hand.

Generally, higher fuel prices make local food much more attractive. What happens next is “undeveloped territory,” he said.

“We need to wonder when it will end or it will be late. Wages may have to reflect living expenses,” Needham said, a basic farm worker in a nearby apartment. He said it would cost $ 1,000 a month to rent an apartment.

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There are other possible hurdles, such as the potential rise in interest rates for farmers who have successfully purchased land. It costs up to $ 20,000 per acre in the fertile eastern part of the region. Unless land prices are maintained and fall, farmers will not be as restrained as they were in the 1980s, when interest rates rose as land prices leveled off or fell.

Jennifer Doelman is a crop farmer and seed producer in the Douglas region. Credit: Jennifer Doelman
Jennifer Doelman is a crop farmer and seed producer in the Douglas region. Credit: Jennifer Doelman jpg

What goes up can go down. But it can be even higher. All uncertainties are damaging the mental health of farmers, Doelman said.

“I don’t think there are any unscathed farmers in this.”

Farmers do what they can to avoid risks. Doelman sells crops at three different times of the year to close the price gap. She sells about one-third while it’s still on the ground, another one-third when it’s harvested, and one-third of it in the spring.

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Some farmers stockpiled fuel last fall in anticipation of rising prices. There is an incentive to store fuel during the inflationary period. But it also absorbs farmers’ cash flow, Massell said.

It is not a solution for everyone, as fuel storage capacity is also limited. “We use so much fuel that we need to store a lot of fuel. And that’s an economic and environmental responsibility. In the event of an accident, it’s an insurance issue. Jerry cans It’s not as easy as getting a few, “Doelman said.

Farmers can use vehicles that use less fuel for certain tasks. But sometimes a big tractor is the most efficient way to do things, she said.

“Sometimes you can use a smart car, but sometimes you need to use a hummer.”

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In the complex and interconnected world economy, food production costs, shortages and food insecurity are increasingly worrisome.

This week, the New York Times reported uncertainty about China’s winter wheat harvest coming next month. Last week, the United Nations World Food Program called for an urgent resumption of ports in the Odesa region of Ukraine, where grain production is “before the current global hunger crisis goes out of control.”

Due to the soaring prices of nitrogen fertilizers in Canada, some experts warn that there is a risk of reduced yields at the next harvest.

“We need good crops,” Mussel said. “The world needs good crops.”

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Farmers’ diesel and fertilizer prices have doubled since last fall.

Source link Farmers’ diesel and fertilizer prices have doubled since last fall.

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