From 2002 to 2017 average annual sales of fertilizer in Australia are 5.4 million tonnes. This provides around 1,000,000 tonnes of nitrogen, 400,000 tonnes of phosphorus and 200.000 tonnes of potassium. About half of this is manufactured in Australia, including superphosphate, which is manufactured from imported phosphate rock. For more on what is fertilizer, read our quick fact sheet.
In addition to domestic use, Australia exports between 200,000 and 400,000 tonnes of fertilizer each year, primarily from Incitec Pivot’s ammonium phosphate plant in North Queensland.
The member companies of Fertilizer Australia operate in a highly competitive domestic market where barriers to entry are low. Major fertilizer products are traded in significant volume on the world market and the only requirement for entry into Australia are strict quarantine regulations. Regulation of fertilizer sales includes requirements for accurate labelling and that maximum permissible concentrations (MPCs) for certain impurities are not exceeded.
The Australian industry is made up of manufacturers (who also import) importers, agents of overseas suppliers and distributors who sell to the end user.
At times some companies may be involved in each of these activities. There are various models employed by different manufacturers and importers including selling direct to farmers, selling through agents and wholesaling to dealers who then sell to farmer customers.
The sale transaction can involve a simple purchase either for cash or on normal industry terms, a forward order with either fixed or variable pricing, promotional offers involving delayed payment on early deliveries, discounts for early collection and a range of other offers designed to achieve sales and to manage the uneven pattern of demand.
This means that inventory held by either manufacturers, importers or distributors may be committed to firm orders and not available to new sales.
Fertilizer Australia members are responsible for more than 95% of the fertilizer imported and manufactured in Australia and a full list of members, including contact details, is available here.