Nitrogen fertilizer shortage threatens to reduce crop yields: CF Industries

FILE PHOTO: A French farmer sits in his combine while harvesting wheat in Bugnicourt, northern France. August 9, 2012. REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol /

Por Rod Nickel

Nov 4 (Reuters) – Nitrogen fertilizer shortages due to rising natural gas prices threaten to reduce crop yields around the world next year, CF Industries, one of the world’s top producers, said on Thursday. this nutrient for crops.

Gas prices in Europe have soared amid high demand, as economies rebound from the pandemic and with below-average gas storage levels at the start of the winter season.

Natural gas is a key input in the production of nitrogen-based fertilizers, and rising costs have caused some manufacturers to reduce production.

“Who is going to get the meager tons that there are? … There is going to be a lot of unmet demand that is going to be stifled,” CF chief executive Tony Will told analysts on a conference call. “So we believe that the yield, globally, will be lower next year. Not because of the destruction of demand, but because there are not enough tons available.”

The prices of nitrogen fertilizer, one of the most used to boost the production of corn, rapeseed and other crops, are at their highest levels in more than a decade.

Hurricane Ida also affected CF’s Louisiana ammonia plants in late August, forcing them to halt production.

Strong global demand for fertilizers looks set to continue until at least 2023, according to CF Senior Vice President of Sales Bert Frost.

US-based CF’s predictions of limiting crop production echo those made last month by Norwegian rival Yara International ASA, which warned that rising fertilizer costs would drive up prices. food prices and could lead to famines.

(Rod Nickel’s report in Winnipeg, edited in Spanish by Gabriela Donoso)

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