Here's hoping for a level playing field
One day left of combining and there’s an autumnal nip in the air. It’s been a long season of great contrasts: high winds and rain, mixed with high temperatures and consequently low moisture contents when the rest of the country had a bank holiday.
The bad weather at the start of harvest caused many varieties to shed a good chunk of their potential onto the ground and yet yields have been largely pleasing even so. Then there is the contrast in prices, seemingly in free fall for the past couple of months as a consequence of those expected yields here and abroad. Thank goodness for the weakness of the pound as farming is often harder within a strong economy.
Which leads to the elephant in the room which I aimed to ignore here today, so I’ll deflect away from the main issue and speculate how agricultural support might fare in a high social spend economy. After a 40 year addiction to subsidies entwined within our cost and income ledgers, with huge proposed public borrowing and spending promises, how affordable and sustainable will Euro matching agricultural subsidies be, and how politically popular?
Also, when the inevitable happens and the income subsidies decline, will the input costs still be dictated by the spending power of our EU neighbours? Will the big agri-suppliers in Europe adjust UK prices for their products or simply retract from our market and leave us hobbled by costs that leave us hopelessly uncompetitive in our near markets?
Here’s hoping for a level playing field in which to grow our produce.
More by this authorJeremy Ransome