Inputs to wheat crops are often described as the variable costs of production and, for wheat, these are relatively high. The most recent edition of the John Nix Farm Management Pocketbook (2016) gives the variable costs for an average crop (7.8 tonnes/ha) of milling wheat as £541/ha.
The main inputs for milling wheat are seed, fertilisers and agrochemical sprays. These sprays are used to control weeds, diseases and pests and may also be used to limit the growth of plants (plant growth regulators). Not only must all inputs be effectively timed for maximum effect, they must also be carried out economically to maintain the gross margins of production.
EU legislation continues to reduce the number of agrochemicals available to control pests and diseases in the wheat crop and the ability for farmers to successfully grow it.