May 20, 2024
Fertilizer Food Shortage

Fertilizer Shortage: The Onset of a Global Food Catastrophe

Unless you are up to date with current fertilizer news, or unless you are a farmer, you might not know that the world is on the brink of a massive food crisis. Why would fertilizer be such a major factor when it comes to produce production? That’s a good question, reader. Let’s jump right into the whys and hows, and figure out what is at the root of this farming fumble.

Complex Complications and Too Many Moving Pieces

To fully understand what is happening with this worldwide fertilizer shortage, we have to take a look into all the pertaining factors, of which there are many.

Russian Sanctions

Unfortunately, the war on Ukraine has severely impacted the supply of fertilizer to the world. This is because Russia is a major producer and exporter of the stuff. To be more precise, Russia, and their next door neighbor, Belarus, are huge reasons the fertilizer industry can exist in the first place.

The world’s main fertilizer, nitrogen fertilizer, is made up of three main ingredients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). This kind of fertilizer is so effective that in the 1960s, when the fertilizer was introduced, it multiplied grain production three times over.

The problem, though, is Russia produces 20% of the world’s nitrogen and Belarus produces 40% of the world’s potassium. Due to global sanctions on these countries, these two very-valuable ingredients are not being exported. This is a massive blow for the production of nitrogen fertilizer.

Bad Weather

It seems as though the natural elements are after the fertilizer industry too. 2021 was a hectic year for many reasons, but volatile weather is one of the causes currently hurting fertilizer production.

Many fertilizer plants in Texas and Iowa were hit hard when Winter Storm Uri came, putting production on ice. Almost six months later, Louisiana’s chemical alley was accosted by Hurricane Ida, damaging a number of fertilizer producers, one of which included CFI’s Donaldsonville complex, the largest urea producer in the world (urea is a type of nitrogen fertilizer).

On the topic of urea, it’s worth noting that even before the war in Ukraine there was an issue with exportation. China, who was once exporting over 10% of the world’s urea, decided they were going to stop just efforts. Every farm in the world using urea was affected in one way or another. They saw shortages, and if they didn’t see shortages then they saw an increase in the price of their urea.

Shortages Lead to More Problems in the Future

It’s not for certain, but the fertilizer shortage could affect more than just the way crops grow. Without crops livestock farmers have nothing to feed their animals, and when they have nothing to feed their animals the production of livestock is affected too. In the case of fertilizer deficiencies, everything, not just production, is affected. Be sure to get in touch with local Kubota dealers to learn more about how the fertilizer shortage will effect your production.

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