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Agriculture And Horticulture: Energy Use

Volume 414: debated on Tuesday 4 November 1980

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asked Her Majesty's Government:How much energy has been used by agriculture and horticulture in Britain (

a) as fuel and ( d) in the production of fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides etc. applied to the land, during the last three years; what proportion of the value of food produced has been absorbed by energy costs; and whether in their view this proportion is likely to rise or fall in future years.

Energy used directly in agriculture and horticulture has remained close to an annual average of some 1.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent (rather less than 1 per cent. of national energy usage) during the three years 1977, 1978 and 1979. During the same period, primary energy used in fertiliser manufacture has averaged some 2.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent. Energy used in the manufacture of herbicides, pesticides, etc., cannot be sepaartely estimated but is small in relation to that used in fertiliser manufacture.

Costs of direct energy inputs have represented about 4 per cent. of the value of total agricultural output during the last three years. To the extent that energy costs increase in real terms this proportion may be expected to rise, although to an extent constrained by more efficient energy use and conservation.