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By Robert Rapier on Jan 17, 2008 with no responses

Fertilizer Shortages in the UK

I was pointed to an interesting discussion today about the possible impact the biofuels mandates are having in the UK:

Already paying the hidden cost of biofuels?

The complaint, originating in Wales, reads:

I know we are. This weekend I made inquires about ordering this year’s fertiliser for our holding.

The answer was, quite frankly, shocking. Our local supplier usually has a stock of 4,000 tonnes for local growers (we just want one tonne of that…).

This year, howewver, their total allocation is being pegged at 640 tonnes. The rest, it seems, has been shipped to the USA for the biofuel industry. The silos and bunkers are empty.

And, to add insult to injury, the meagre amount that the supplier has been left with has gone up by £100 a tonne over last year’s price.

I foresee near riots in the next couple of months at agricultural suppliers across the land.

And that’s not mentioning the cost of cereals. A poor harvest here and massive amounts of grain land being ploughed up for biofuel in North America has seen cereal prices shoot up.

As a result animal feed has gone up by a third, and I have heard one dealer predicting the £4 pint by the end of the year because of a shortage of barley. Already the major brewers are telling wholesalers to prepare for a 25 per cent hike in bottled beer prices by March.

It’s one aspect of the green fuel debate that may not have been aired much, but you can bet that it will become a major issue by the end of the summer.

In the beginning, it seemed like the entire ag sector was on the ethanol bandwagon. Then the cattle ranchers and chicken producers jumped off after their feed prices escalated. Now, looks like some overseas farmers may not be too happy (as evidenced by some of the other comments).

I don’t buy fertilizer, so I don’t really know. Anyone else have first hand knowledge of this issue? I have heard some suggest that China is also a factor, but I really don’t know how much their usage has increased.