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Diesel’s 100% Surge and Scarcity Deny Farmers Their ‘Lifeblood’

Some spend $1,000 to fuel a tractor, more than double a year ago

A worker sweeps after unloading corn from a grain truck in Princeton, Illinois.

A worker sweeps after unloading corn from a grain truck in Princeton, Illinois.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Farmers from Iowa to Ukraine are grappling with surging diesel prices and an unsteady supply, forcing them to spend unprecedented sums on fuel in a chaotic market and raising concerns about the autumn harvest. 

In the US, where corn and soybean producers are rushing to sow after rains and cold temperatures forced delays, filling a tractor tank daily now costs some farmers $1,000, twice what it was a year ago. And the most intensive part of the farming season is still ahead.