Saturday, December 9, 2023

Fertiliser prices ease again

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Global prices and shipping costs both drop, bringing relief to producers.
Rabobank’s latest confidence survey found that 71% of farmers with a pessimistic outlook cite the cost of farm inputs such as fertiliser as the reason.
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The cost of phosphate and nitrogen-based fertilisers has come down again with both Ballance Agri-Nutrients and Ravensdown announcing cuts in price.

According to NZX’s Grain and Feed Insights report, Ballance eased its prices for urea and diammonium phosphate (DAP), with Nrich Urea reducing 8.13% to $1130/t, from the previous price of $1230/t. DAP prices declined 11.14% from the previous price of $1795/t to $1595/t.

Ravensdown followed suit with its urea price down 8.9% to $1139/t from the previous price of $1250/t while Cropmaster DAP was revised down $200/t to $1592/t.

In a letter to customers sent out on March 1, Ravensdown general manager of sales and marketing Gary Bowick said: “While it’s clear we’ve been impacted by high international prices over the last year or so, recent softening has eased the challenge of competing with domestically produced product.

“At a time when on-farm costs are at an inflationary premium, we are committed to offering competitive prices and doing our best for customers.”

NZX dairy analyst Alex Winning said the reductions were not a surprise, given the trend of international price declines.

Mid-February urea prices dropped below US$300/t for the first time since late 2020, a decline of 68% since the March 2022 peak.

“With global prices sitting much lower, the cost of shipping having reduced significantly over the last few months, and a reduction in domestic prices, there is good indication that the future of fertiliser prices in NZ should continue to see reductions.”

Meanwhile, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand has released an updated code of practice for fertiliser nutrient management, replacing its 2013 version.

Following the code should ensure less fertiliser is wasted and any potential negative impacts on soil, air and water are minimised.

“The guidance considers both the risks to the environment associated with fertiliser use and options for avoiding, remedying or mitigating impacts. It also provides examples of how farmers and growers can demonstrate their actions,”  the association said.

Association chief executive Vera Power said the revised code provides clear, principle-based guidance on supplying nutrients for growing healthy food and fibre.

“Following the code provides users, regulatory authorities and markets confidence that the nutrients used in Aotearoa New Zealand primary production are managed in a way that minimises adverse environmental impacts,” Power said.

“We believe all New Zealand farmers and growers want to meet societal and their own high expectations for growing healthy food while minimising environmental impacts. Supporting all our aspirations remains at the heart of the guidance provided by this code.”

The code was launched at an event in Wellington on March 13 attended by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

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