Law’s, the independent
company supplying fertilisers and crop protection to the market,
is warning growers and advisors to look carefully at what their
crops need in terms of nutrition and put it on when it is best used.
Tailoring and timing fertiliser inputs will help protect dwindling
resources and optimise farm costs.
“There is a global issue with regard to demand and supply
of several key minerals used in crop nutrition. Global population
increases, rising standards of living and the drive to produce environmentally
friendly biofuels are putting unprecedented demands on finite materials
that could easily lead to future shortages of fertiliser components
as well as future price increases. Increased global demand combined
with limited supply of one key fertiliser component, phosphate may
become a major threat to the economic viability of agriculture in
the UK,” warns Mark Law, Managing Director of Law’s.
“At current rates of use which are increasing year on year,
experts have calculated that there is only 60 to 80 years availability
of rich phosphate reserves left in the world. Brazil has increased
its demand and, almost single handedly, this has caused a 70% increase
in prices within a three month period, as a direct consequence of
sugar cane plantings escalating from 5.6 million hectares in 2006
to a planned 9 million hectares in 2012. Brazil has the lowest cost
for bioethanol at £11/litre (based on sugar cane) compared
to £23/litre based on wheat in the EU and is keen to meet
worldwide demand. In North America each individual citizen consumes
8,322 tonnes of phosphorus in a lifetime, which is largely lost
into insoluble or waste compounds,” reports Mark.
He points out that whilst demand is increasing, supplies are finding
it hard to keep up. “Around 42% of world phosphate reserves
are concentrated in Morocco and the Western Sahara, where static
production capability has lead to a recent spiral in prices. Another
regional producer, Israel is encountering a long term industrial
dispute. There appears no informed prediction for any significant
reduction in price to pre 2007 levels in the medium term especially
as India and Pakistan are expected to step up imports despite China
developing its own reserves.”
“As economies increase their GDP (Asia 2.1% per annum) and
the world population increases by 1.1% per annum, there will continue
to be a significant reduction in the available phosphorus reserves.”
Law Fertilisers are urging farmers to review their existing phosphate
policy, not only as the input is more expensive but also to protect
this vital resource for future generations. “We have been
working for sometime on techniques to improve the uptake of this
nutrient by placing in the seedbed close to the plant, so as to
reduce fixation of phosphate into insoluble compounds and enabling
lower rates over RB209 to be applied.”
“Research work shows that top dressing of cereals with phosphate
or broadcasting with root or vegetable crops is an inefficient practice,
with a commensurate effect on yield and quality. Tailoring fertilisers
at a variable rate and applied directly in the seedbed results in
more efficient use of what could become a dwindling resource,”
says Mr. Law.
uptake of applied Phosphate
(Soluble P applied @ index 2 RB209)
||Placed in seedbed
But it is not just phosphate supply which is under pressure. Potash
has seen a 5% increase in price, amid a 3% increase in world demand,
with supply limited to five main worldwide producers, the UK, Germany,
Canada, Israel and Russia.
Mark reports however that Nitrogen may become slightly stronger
in price over the year as gas prices firm worldwide combined with
an increase in demand due to population growth and agricultural
intensification. “Demand has increased with the requirement
for the use of technical grade nitrogen for vehicle emission regulations
in the US, Japan and Europe. New manufacturing in the Middle East
and East Asia coming on stream from 2007 to 2010 will increase production
of urea and nitrogen products by 40% or 19 million tonnes which
will do a lot to keep any price increases in check.”
“At current demand some key resources will be exhausted in
the near future; Platinum in 15 years; Silver in 20 years; Zinc
in 20 years and Copper in 38 years. Phosphates are the main concern
for the future of British farming and unless growers and advisers
re-examine their individual phosphate nutrition strategies, they
could find it difficult to meet the challenge offered by increasing
demand for agricultural products. I find it an irresponsible policy
to supply the same fertiliser to the same farm each year. The goal
posts have moved and farmers need to tailor and time their fertiliser
appropriately so as not to waste their own money or indeed waste
the world’s finite resources,” says Mr. Law.
Wetcol contains copper. Wetcol
is a registered trademark of
Law Fertilisers Ltd.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE PESTICIDES SAFELY.
For further comment and information please contact Mark Law, Managing
Director, Law Fertilisers Ltd on on 07710 324463
(mobile) or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Law Fertilisers manufacture a range of granular blends, using the
highest quality raw materials and tailored to individual crops needs.
Their integrated service is based on soil and plant sampling, sound
scientific research and many years experience. Products are supplied
directly onto farm, in bags or bulk and can be delivered and spread
using in-house spreading service at a considerable cost saving.
Law Fertilisers aims to provide an independent, professional and
targeted approach to fertiliser use in all major crops on the farm,
including potatoes, cereals, oilseed rape, sugar beet and vegetables.
They also have a unique range of fertilisers and inputs suitable
for organic crops.
Law Fertilisers Ltd.
The Fertiliser Factory
Cambridgeshire PE15 0QJ
Tel : 01354 740740 Fax: 01354 740720