Nitrogen Shortage to Force U.S. Farmers to Scale Back Fertilizer, CF Says
(Bloomberg) -- A shortage of nitrogen fertilizer is getting so bad that farmers won’t be able to get what they need for their fields in the near future.
That’s according to executives at CF Industries Holdings Inc., who spoke on an earnings call Thursday. If the owner of the world’s largest nitrogen facility is right and farmers have to scale back fertilizer applications, that could lower corn yields, pushing up the price of food even further. Food inflation is already a concern, with a United Nations gauge of global prices at a decade high.
Fertilizer is scarce right now because high costs for natural gas, a key raw material, have halted some production in Europe. Other countries like China and Russia are imposing restrictions on exports to try and safeguard local supplies.
The U.S. is a major importer of farm nutrients, importing 20% of its urea and 40% of ammonium nitrate from Russia alone.
U.S. spot prices for potash and urea, a form of nitrogen fertilizer, have more than doubled this year, according to Green Markets, a company owned by Bloomberg. Analysts have raised concerns that farmers simply won’t be able to buy at these prices.
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