European farmers take drastic measures in the fertilizer crisis

According to Bloomberg, their efforts to use less of vital nutrients for staple crops like wheat and canola highlight the ongoing threat the fertilizer crisis poses to food production.

Many of Europe’s fertilizer plants have closed as Russia’s war in Ukraine puts pressure on gas supplies.

Some farmers secured fertilizer for this year’s crops before prices rose dramatically, but now they face much higher bills once they start planting for the next crop. Moreover, the increase in the price of energy makes it more expensive to work with the tractor and to dry the grain, risking to fuel food inflation even more. “It’s impossible to make plans,” says Adam Nowak, a farmer from Poland.

EU grain production is down 9% this year, and while it is too early to know what next year’s crops will be like, farmers are likely to shift to crops that require less fertilizer, according to Vincent Braak, an analyst at Strategy Grains.

The crisis also gives headaches to animal breeders, because many apply fertilizers to pastures. Cows produce less milk in the absence of the right diet, and farmers fear that they will have to sell part of their livestock.

British farmer Richard Bramley has reduced his use of nitrogen-based fertilizers over the past two seasons and hopes new equipment will help him reduce it even further. It spent around £23,000 on a sensor that detects plant health and applies nutrients only where needed.

(source: AFP)

Source: Jurnalul by

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