Super fertiliser supply at critical levels

Prices skyrocket, supply choked: perfect storm for fertiliser

Cropping
Fertiliser products such as MAP and DAP are hard to find due to shipping problems, price hikes and China cutting its export supply of phosphate.

Fertiliser products such as MAP and DAP are hard to find due to shipping problems, price hikes and China cutting its export supply of phosphate.

Aa

Getting hands on fertiliser ' will be hard for six months'

Aa

A "perfect storm" of events has taken fertiliser supply - MAP and DAP - to critically low levels with the price subsequently going through the roof.

A combination of factors from supply to shipping to input costs is putting pressure on sourcing the major types of fertilisers used in cropping.

Prices for some MAP and DAP have hit $800 a tonne.

A Dubbo supplier told The Land if you hadn't already ordered your super or had it on farm, you would have trouble sourcing it in the next six months. Supply was not expected to improve until later in the year.

"It's harder to get than during the midde of the COVID year last year," the supplier said.

The supply crisis started in February with China keeping its phosphate supplies for largely domestic use - drying up one of Australia's main sources of top grade and cheaper phosphate.

Then with COVID lockdowns, a lot of older bulk carriers on the world's shipping lanes were taken out of service and have not returned, tightening world supply chains. Then fertiliser inputs such as sulphur and ammonia doubled in price.

There are good supplies of natural fertilisier available, and Narrandera-based BioAg director Anton Barton said it would be a case of "first in best dressed" to his supplies.

BioAg's product is sourced from Algeria and is sold in bulk as BioAgPhos, brought into Australia through the Geelong port.

Mr Barton said a combination of elements had seen the main types of superphosphate skyrocket to $800 a tonne. He was selling BioAgPhos at about $410 a tonne.

"It's a perfect storm of events, really" he said. "The supply is very tight. All the clever blokes got in at harvest time."

With China out of the supply equation, Australia was having to seek phosphate out of areas such as Florida, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Some of these supplies were not always reliable for quality.

"That further flung stuff has a problem with granulometry and the more it is handled, the less reactive it becomes."

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by