Crop circles costing farmers big bucks in lost revenue

The pranksters—extraterrestrial or otherwise—responsible for crop circles in the UK owe farmers tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, according to a study conducted by The Guardian. Apparently flattening the plants doesn't usually damage the grains, it makes it extremely difficult for the mechanical combines to harvest. More than half of all UK crop circles since 2018 have turned up in the southwest England county of Wiltshire, home to Stonehenge and the Avebury stone circle. From The Guardian:

Farmers lost £30,000 in income between 2018 and 2022 as a result of 92 crop circles of varying sizes. The wheat and barley lost over the period could have made 300,000 loaves of bread, and the flattened rapeseed could have produced 600 litres of canola oil.

Crop circles have come under particular scrutiny this year for the unwelcome toll they are taking on farmers' harvests at a time of global food crisis. Grain prices have surged since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, with both countries major suppliers of crops to the global markets[…]

[Tenant farmer George] Hosford estimates he lost about £1,000 in income due to the crop circle. He has already spent almost £200 on fertiliser, seeds and other operational costs for the damaged patch.

After crop circles are created, sightseers often further exacerbate the damage by entering the field and trampling over the untouched parts. The locations of circles are usually listed on websites for enthusiasts.