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Agriculture: High gas prices make fertilizers much more expensive – sales have plummeted


The high gas prices are causing sharp price increases for fertilizer and are noticeably slowing down sales in Germany. If agriculture therefore has to do without nitrogen fertilizers, there is a risk of crop collapses.

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Tractor with liquid manure trailer: Alternative to expensive and scarce artificial fertilizer

Photo: Martin Wagner / IMAGO

In the production of fertilizers, natural gas is required as a raw material or energy source.

Along with gas prices, fertilizer prices have also risen sharply.

This has consequences: The amount of fertilizers placed on the market in Germany fell sharply from April to June compared to the previous quarter, as reported by the Federal Statistical Office.

The sales figures include both fertilizers produced in Germany and imported fertilizers.

Domestic sales of phosphate fertilizers halved compared to the same quarter of the previous year (-50.6 percent) to 14,000 tons of the nutrient phosphate it contains.

Potash fertilizer sales also fell by a good half (-52.3 percent) to 55,900 tons of potassium oxide.

Nitrogen fertilizers saw an 18.5 percent drop.

Only sales of lime fertilizer (592,600 tons of calcium oxide) remained almost unchanged at -0.1 percent.

Comeback of liquid manure on the fields

Traditional alternatives to artificial fertilizers are also becoming more popular because of the high costs.

The farmers' association had reported increasing demand at the manure exchanges and long-distance transports.

A look at the producer prices for fertilizers and nitrogen compounds shows how high inflation can be.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, they more than doubled in August compared to the same month last year (+108.8 percent).

Already in March 2022, the first month after the start of the war in Ukraine, they were 87.2 percent higher than in March 2021.

Foreign trade in fertilizers based on phosphate, nitrogen or potassium has also recently declined: from January to July, imports to Germany fell by eleven percent.

The most important countries of origin here are the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland.

Despite alternatives such as liquid manure, farmers are suffering from the development.

Farmers' Association President Joachim Rukwied recently warned that if nitrogen is not used in fertilizers, crop slumps of 30 to 50 percent are possible in the first year.

He called for a national fertilizer reserve because it was not known whether there would be enough nitrogen fertilizer next spring.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-09-26

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