Shortage of fertilizer supply and rising prices worry NB farmers – New Brunswick


Mike Slocum prepares for fertilizer prices.

He owns Slocum’s Farm Fresh Produce Ltd in Grand Lake, New Brunswick, and says his suppliers have told him to prepare for prices to double what he paid the previous year, around 1,400 $ per ton.

His farm used around 30 tonnes a year and said this would affect prices for his customers.

“It’s going to make it difficult,” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We don’t know how much we (have to) increase the price by until the exact bill comes in, but I mean, it’s going to add price and how much the consumer is going to bear, price-wise.”

Slocum said he also needs to maintain his competitiveness with other growers and farmers because if his prices are too high he won’t sell.

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“You just have to bring everything, even the fuels have increased,” he said.

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Fertilizer shortage puts global food supply at risk as sanctions hit Russia

Sanctions on Russia, which is a major exporter of potash, ammonia, urea and other soil nutrients, have disrupted shipments of these key inputs around the world.

Karen Proud, president and CEO of Fertilizer Canada, said the problems started about a year ago, but were further complicated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She said about 85 to 95 percent of the fertilizer shipped to Canada’s east coast comes from Russia. About 60% had landed in the country before the invasion and the rest are under sanctions.

“Our Canadian importers, in some cases, had to cancel contracts they had with Russian suppliers and try to source fertilizer elsewhere. It’s not easy with the planting season approaching to get that supply to Canada,” she said in an interview Tuesday.

Canada holds its own, however, when it comes to producing fertilizer with some of the most advanced production facilities in the world, Proud said.

“We are still concerned about supply,” she said. “Canada is the largest producer of potash in the world, second and third are Russia and Belarus, so obviously Canada is seen as a reliable and reliable source of products like potash.

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Proud said Canada could do more, however, adding that a long-term look at fertilizer supply and the country’s role in it needed to be taken.

“Canada also has some of the most modern facilities for manufacturing fertilizer products that are much more environmentally friendly than some of our global competitors,” she said.

She said the tariffs imposed on fertilizers currently in the country also need to be addressed. Proud said the organization is in discussions with the federal government about those tariffs and said they seem willing to ease them to help with the crisis.

History of potash in New Brunswick

New Brunswick has its own potash mine.

In 2016, Nutrien, or formerly PotAsh Corp, was shut down, citing high operational costs for the business. It remains active with a provincial government contract for road salt.

Recent fertilizer issues have led to speculation the potash mine may reopen amid increased demand from Canada, but the company says there are no plans to restart potash production in New Brunswick. .

“The provincial government has extended the existing contract with Nutrien and its mine in the Sussex area for the supply of road salt,” a company spokesperson said by email.

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On March 16, the company announced that it would increase production capacity this year to around 15 million tonnes in response to uncertainty in Eastern Europe.

“The majority of this additional volume is expected to be delivered in the second half of the year and the additional volume will come from our six low-cost potash mine sites across Saskatchewan,” the company said in an emailed statement. .

There are also several local fertilizer producers in the province, including Cavendish Agri Services, which operates in all three Maritime Provinces, and McCain Fertilizer Ltd in Florenceville-Bristol.

Government response

The New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries said in an email that it is aware of the concerns raised by industry, but it is too early to predict potential impacts.

“Most of the fertilizers used by New Brunswick farmers are purchased locally, but the fertilizer components generally come from foreign countries,” a department spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

He said the purchase and distribution of fertilizers is done on a business-to-business basis and the government is not involved in this process. However, farmers “affected by supply availability are encouraged to contact the department to speak with technical advisory staff to discuss alternative options.”

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The Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development also said it recognizes there is a global shortage of potash.

“The Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development is closely monitoring changing market conditions and is in regular communication with Nutrien,” an emailed statement from the department said.

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Farmers struggling with rising feed and fertilizer costs

Farmers grappling with rising feed and fertilizer costs – April 10, 2022

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