As the Fertilizer Crisis Bites, Farmers Take Drastic Steps

Sunday, October 2, 2022
Ditching oilseed crops for peas, preparing to cut herds and splashing out on tractor gadgets. That’s what European farmers are doing to try to cope with a worsening fertilizer crisis. The lengths they’re going to in order to apply less of the nutrients vital for growing staples like wheat and rapeseed highlights the continued threat the crunch poses to food output. Many of Europe’s fertilizer plants have closed as Russia’s war in Ukraine squeezes supplies of gas that nitrogen fertilizer is derived from. Some farmers secured fertilizer for this year’s harvest before prices soared, but now face much bigger bills as they start planting for next year’s crop. Plus, high energy costs are making it more expensive to run tractors and dry grain, risking more food inflation. “It’s impossible to plan,” said Adam Nowak, a farmer south of Warsaw in Poland.
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