Rising demand tightens nitrogen supplies

Rising demand tightens nitrogen supply outlook

Cropping
HIGH DEMAND: This year's tight fertiliser supply situation was very similar to what occurred in 2019 says Dellavedova Fertilisers manager Shane Dellavedova.

HIGH DEMAND: This year's tight fertiliser supply situation was very similar to what occurred in 2019 says Dellavedova Fertilisers manager Shane Dellavedova.

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Larger areas being sown to crop as a result of early rains in NSW and filtering into Victoria have farmers and suppliers concerned for nitrogen supplies.

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Concerns about fertiliser shortages due to the coronavirus impact have spilled over to ongoing concerns about nitrogen supplies.

However in almost a copy of the situation in 2019 - as well as 2016 and 2018 - the turn around in the season is mostly responsible for a current tight supply of nitrogen fertiliser.

Maryborough-based Dellavedova Fertilisers' Manager, Shane Dellavedova said it had turned into a high demand year with early rains, particularly in drought-affected areas that had moved into a normal cropping program.

This has resulted in a very tight supply for sowing fertilisers. He said there would be little carryover product from the busy sowing season.

"As we move towards the end of the sowing season, some companies are now experiencing shortages. It will be a tight supply finish for the seeding fertiliser season," he said.

The situation and drivers for nitrogen are similar. Larger areas of favorable cropping conditions in NSW and a near perfect seasonal break in large parts of Victoria had meant demand for nitrogen was higher than it was this time last year, contributing to an early tight supply.

Mr Dellavedova said shortages, this early in the season were usually a sign of high demand that could extend through the winter nitrogen topdressing season.

"If good rains continue, strong demand will keep pressure on supply," he said.

Mr Dellavedova said the situation looked like continuing in the short-to-medium term.

"We are encouraging growers, where they have on-farm storage, to pick up nitrogen - particularly the first application - and store on farm.

To avoid any short-term run outs, growers need to have the product on hand," he said.

Mr Dellavedova said last year's above average rainfall in May and June, led to a high demand resulting in shortages of nitrogen until the end of the season.

"We may see the same situation this year, but starting a month earlier," he said.

The excellent start to the season was allowing growers to sow at least all their planned area with some taking the opportunity to put in extra paddocks.

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