FRANKFURT, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Germany's farmers are
ordering less fertiliser, put off by soaring costs after major
suppliers of synthetic plant nutrients have curtailed
production, the country's statistics office said on Monday.
Imports of fertiliser into Germany are also on the decline,
the office said, indicating that farmers and fertiliser traders
have not found cheaper outlets abroad.
Across domestic and foreign sources, German farmers and
traders purchased 238,000 tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser during
the April-to-June quarter, down 18.5% from a year earlier and
down 25% from the first quarter.
Nitrogen fertiliser is the most commonly used chemical plant
nutrient by volume, and it requires natural gas for production.
BASF, Yara and unlisted SKW Piesteritz,
which run Germany's largest ammonia and urea plants, the raw
materials for nitrogen fertiliser, have cut or stopped
production due to surging gas prices after Russia curtailed gas
deliveries to Germany.
"Behind the decline in sales is the highly energy-intensive
nature of the production of most fertilisers," the statistics
office said. "The high gas prices and the associated decline in
fertiliser production and sales have been increasingly reflected
in fertiliser prices since this spring," it added.
Prices charged for fertilisers in Germany more than doubled
from July to August, the office said.
In the seven months from January to July 2022, fertiliser
imports declined 11% to 2.1 million tonnes from the year-earlier
The main fertiliser-supplying nations to Germany this year
have been the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, accounting for
21%, 15% and 14% of German imports, respectively, the statistics
office said. This includes potash and phosphate plant nutrients.
OCI NV, a major Dutch fertiliser maker, has also
cut output at its ammonia facility. A major Polish nitrogen
fertiliser maker is Anwil, part of Polish refiner PKN Orlen
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said this month he
would back the idea of reopening Russian ammonia exports through
Ukraine, but only if Moscow released prisoners of war, an idea
the Kremlin rejected.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger
Editing by Miranda Murray and Mark Potter)