FERTILISER prices are expected to climb higher again in time for next season’s crop plantings.
Shipping shortages and spiralling international demand for foods have combined to force another surge in local prices to take them well above the record margins at which they peaked earlier this year.
United Farmers Co-operative (UFC) chief executive officer Kerry Browne said fertiliser prices had not backed off in more than a year.
He warned they were set to increase again after almost doubling in the past two seasons.
The next round of rises will reflect the huge global demand for fertiliser which is being driven by a rapid move from food growing to grains-based fuel production, particularly in the United States.
Spiralling grain prices have added to the frenzy as growers looking to plant more crops grapple with the problem of dwindling fertiliser supplies.
Most key fertiliser products have increase about $200/t, or 30pc more than this time last year.
When it released its 2008-09 price list recently, CSBP warned that its charges would reflect the last year’s extraordinary surge in fertiliser demand and bulk shipping rates.
CSBP’s price list included an increase to $769/t for MAP, up from $579/t this time last year.
The price of urea has risen to $539/t, up from $454 a year ago, while potash has climbed $55/t, from $449, while single superphosphate hit $282/t, up from $222/t.
World prices for urea and ammonium phosphate climbed 40pc to 75pc in the six months until March this year, adding to the strain on growers’ input costs.