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Fertiliser giant Yara moves to reassure UK farmers

Many fertiliser factories have been forced to close due to high gas prices.

Fertiliser giant Yara says it is taking steps to ensure it has adequate supplies of product available for UK farmers.

The company’s chief executive officer, Svein Tore Holsether, said it had started bringing ammonia to Europe from its production facilities in Trinidad, Australia and the United States.

It comes as many European fertiliser factories have been forced to cease or limit production due to soaring gas prices.

“Faced with record high gas prices, we actually have the flexibility in our system to switch off ammonia production: so rather than using European natural gas, we’re importing from our other facilities that are running at full blast,” said Mr Holsether.

“We are bringing that ammonia into Europe so that we can maintain our fertiliser production at close to full capacity.”

Yara’s head of agronomy in the UK, Mark Tucker, welcomed the news but advised UK farmers to talk with their usual fertiliser supplier as early as possible to discuss their requirements.

He said: “I would also encourage all farmers and their advisors to view this announcement as an opportunity to look again at your season 2021/22 cropping and nitrogen management plans.

“Are there opportunities to manage risk by considering spring cropping and adopt new technology to further improve nitrogen use efficiency? This will ensure that you make every kg of purchased nitrogen work harder for your business and optimise the return on investment.”

Mr Holsether said it was not possible to predict how long high gas prices would impact fertiliser production in Europe, but said Yara was able to supply all its customers with contracted volumes.

He added: “Longer term, what we need in place is policy to make development of renewable energy more resilient and we need a more value-chain approach to the food system, which is currently so fragmented.”

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