DISRUPTIONS to the agricultural supply chain are expected to have an ongoing impact on fertiliser production and availability heading into 2022.
Fertiliser pricing around the world remains high relative to historic levels which is a reflection of high international gas prices, lower internationally traded volumes due to reduced plant production rates in offshore markets, high commodity prices, export sanctions in key supply markets such as China and Russia and increased international freight rates.
Despite this, customer demand and commitments in Western Australia at this point are ahead of the same time last year.
CSBP Fertilisers general manager Mark Scatena said that was in part due to customers seeking to secure fertiliser availability given the risks to supply chains.
"With concern over availability of most inputs being high for 2022, growers have been looking for certainty around making sure they can get enough fertiliser on farm for next year," Mr Scatena said.
"CSBP has been working with growers to achieve supply certainty by capturing grower intentions through fertiliser forecasts for 2022 to understand the seasonal fertiliser requirement.
"We are also importing and manufacturing fertiliser earlier than normal, and we are contracting fertiliser as early as possible and encouraging farms with storage to get some of next season's requirements onfarm."
Nutrien Ag Solutions managing director Rob Clayton said it was undeniable that disruptions in the agriculture supply chain were continuing to impact supply.
"This is due to a combination of strong global demand, export restrictions and caps in key export markets which have limited supply, placing pressure on already stressed supply chains," Mr Clayton said.
"At this stage it's difficult to determine how this will impact the production and supply of ag inputs for the coming season but we are working with our suppliers to ease the disruption and sure up supply as much as possible.
"Given these challenges we are seeing globally, I encourage growers to have early conversations with their farm advisers and agronomists to help better forecast what inputs will be required in 2022."
For local fertiliser manufacturers, the challenging international supply chains and tight domestic labour markets have required careful planning.
Companies have had to leverage their long-term supply partners to carefully plan raw material inputs as well as the availability of team members across supply chains, logistics, production, despatch and customer service activities.
For CSBP, the granulation plant started production in September, earlier than ever before, to have the product ready in advance, giving the company flexibility later in the season.
Mr Scatena said they were currently operating all of their local manufacturing assets to capacity across their superphosphate, granulation and liquids production plants.
"Reflecting recent planned plant maintenance, our plant availability has been strong, with our local production capabilities providing reliability for our customers and complementing our 10 storage and despatch locations across the State," he said.
"Leveraging the 700,000 tonnes of solid and liquid fertilisers produced annually from our local manufacturing assets, we remain very focused on supporting customers to reduce their risk profile.
"We are providing incentives for early collection and have regional infrastructure investments planned to increase despatch capacity and reduce customer collection wait times during the seasonal peak."
With market concerns regarding supply for next year, many growers have been keen to commit for next year and suppliers in WA have been working with customers to provide as much surety as they can.
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