The potential for a rail strike in the US, which could start as early as September 16, is pushing the prices of key commodities such as lumber and fertiliser higher this week as uncertainty mounts over future supplies.

Rail is a key part of the agricultural supply chain in the US and the risk of an almost complete shutdown is bad news for both farmers and food security in the country.

With European production continuing to face shutdowns due to elevated gas prices, a loss of the safety-valve of US supply would likely see prices rocket again on this side of the Atlantic.

The strike in the US may still be averted, with president Joe Biden and the White House putting pressure on both sides to resolve the dispute, which is mostly about difficult working conditions and schedules.

There are 12 unions involved in the discussions and no agreement can be reached until all of them sign up to it.