'It's the worst I've seen it' says crop farmer from Widnes as food production cost soar

Merseyside Correspondent Andy Bonner spent the day at a farm in Tarbuck to see how they're coping with the added pressure on food production

A rise in fertiliser prices following the Russian invasion of Ukraine is putting extra pressure on food production say UK farmers.

The fertiliser, which gives nutrients to his crops and ultimately helps grow our food, has soared in price.

Russia's the world's biggest exporter of synthetic fertiliser but those exports are now restricted.

It's expected the increase will further impact food prices here at home as the cost of living crisis intensifies.

Olly Harrison a crop farmer and youtuber from Widnes said: "It's the worst I've seen."

Olly Harrison/Youtube

To give an example of how things have changed so fast he told us that fertiliser cost £300 a tonne when he planted his wheat field back in September. Now it's over £1,000 a tonne.

"We've got some decisions to make about how much we feed it" he said.

While the UK makes about two fifths of its own fertiliser, its feared rising gas prices will halt production here. British food producers are also facing a rise in prices for animal feed and CO2, which is used in packaging and the slaughter of livestock.

The view of one of Olly's fields from his tractor

It may be some comfort to Olly that crop prices are also high, but they are fluctuating - meaning he's constantly checking, hoping to sell wheat he's kept back at a premium.

"There is no certainty in this market" he said. As prices go up, the margins are narrowing.

The price of tractor diesel has tripled in a year. Couple all of this with the effects of the pandemic, and Olly says it is the perfect storm.

"I'm always a glass is half full, but it it is a worry." he's calling for consumers to shop local and avoid food waste to ease the burden.

Olly's been coordinating a huge effort to get aid to Ukraine and Poland, through the farming community.