Choose a contractor with care
Charges for contractors have remained relatively steady for the past number of years, although there is always upward pressure on the back of creeping diesel costs. While our survey of charges is by no means the definitive record, it is a good starting point for farmers interested in getting to grips with what some of the going rates are for the key contracting jobs.
As with anything like this, there is huge variation in the quotes, with the lowest in many cases being less than half of what the highest is.
There doesn't appear to be any major geographical pattern in relation to where the highest and lowest quotes come from. It seems to be more so a case of some contractors quoting lower rates across the board.
However, this is a real bone of contention within the ranks of the Professional Association of Contractors, who claim that 'fly-by-night' operators who under-cut their competitors never last for long and are often operating without proper insurance and outside the tax system.
For farmers, hard pressed to squeeze costs, it can be a difficult choice.
The general advice is don't choose your contractor on price alone, since this may leave you caught when you are reliant on the services of a reliable operator for a time-sensitive job.