The price of nitrogen fertiliser has more than doubled over the past year.
As nitrogen is a crucial input for achieving yield in modern crops, particularly wheat, these price rises will have implications for the next harvest as some growers may opt to limit their nitrogen applications to save money.
For milling wheat, nitrogen fertiliser is especially important as it is needed to achieve high protein.
AHDB are developing new guidance for growers that helps determine the cost effectiveness of nitrogen applications, given the rise in price. Whilst an update to the guidance will cover milling wheat, UK Flour Millers has agreed to fund additional guidance that will include considerations around achieving the typical protein specification.
It is hoped this will allow growers to make prudent decisions around nitrogen applications whilst maintaining the supply of domestic high protein wheat our industry needs.
With no sign of fertiliser prices dropping, supply will be a key consideration for the next few months as businesses decide whether to apply or not. Imported fertiliser is proving difficult to come by, as manufacturers are prioritising local markets.
UK Flour Millers, via the Arable Chain Advisory Group it chairs, has written to the government urging continued support for CF Fertilisers, the UK’s only nitrogen fertiliser plant. This request highlights the crucial role fertiliser plays in the UK arable chain and in maintaining national food security.