How can we feed the world and protect our environment? Fertilizers can be part of the solution, and part of the problem - management is the key.
Sustainable intensification means we can feed the world whilst maintaining wonderful wilderness areas. If we can't manage this we will need more land for food production.
Each use situation is different so growers should employ a range of management practices to improve fertilizer use efficiency and reduce the risk of losses to the environment.
Ancient marine sediments, evaporated seas and the air we breathe; these are the sources of the major nutrient fertilizers.
Australia is a very small part of a large freely traded fertilizer market.
From 7 billion people to 9 billion people and a significant change in diets will mean increasing demand for food – and fertilizer to grow it.
We don’t just grow food – crops are also used to produce fuel, adding to the future production task.
As a surrogate for food prices, grain prices tell an interesting story about the prices farmers receive and how much their inputs cost.
Supply and demand are clearly driving international prices – with occasional help from some policy makers.
Australia produces, imports and exports fertilizer. It is a vital ingredient in advanced farming.
Direct value to agricultural production of $12B, and 170,000 jobs – more than $40B and 300,000 jobs across the economy.
Five million tonnes of fertilizer, one million tonnes of nitrogen, 400,000 tonnes of phosphorus and 170,000 tonnes of potassium.
Detailed Statistics (members only).
Some of the key factors affecting Australian prices are sea freight and the exchange rate.
Steady growth in agricultural productivity with new varieties and better management techniques is matched by steady increase in the demand for nutrients.
Growers need fertilizer at the right time of year, getting the right product t the right place at the right time is a logistical challenge.
With fertilizer producers scheduling orders months ahead, with transit times of up to eight weeks, and demand dependent on rainfall… what could go wrong?
The import and sale of fertilizers are subject to specific regulations. Many fertilizer products or operations are also covered by more general regulation such as those for dangerous goods, poisons, environment, and occupational health and safety.
Increasing volatility in agricultural commodity and fertilizer prices in recent years has highlighted the importance of forward contracts in managing price and supply risk.