Fracking leads to fertiliser glut and price drop

Import of fertilisers at King's Lynn port
Import of fertilisers at King's Lynn port
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East Anglian farmers are likely to feel positive affects from fracking as the cost of nitrogen fertiliser production has been driven down, according to an independent importer.

Fertiliser importer and manufacturer Law Fertilisers Ltd, of March, which also has offices at Narborough, has been taking advantage of plummeting commodity prices by importing late cargoes of low-cost nitrogen for East Anglian farmers.

Recently the company imported a 3000-tonne cargo of granular nitrogen from 
the Middle East into Lynn with recent gains in the 
value of the pound further helping to reduce the cost of this vital ingredient in 
crop production across East Anglia.

Mr Mark Law, managing director of Law Fertilisers Ltd, is an advocate of fracking and believes it can offer far-reaching benefits in the future in terms of energy.

“We are procrastinating about whether or not we should do it, but elsewhere in the world, other countries are just getting on with it and reaping the benefits,” he said.

“If you look at some of the inefficiencies of the renewables, it’s all the more sensible to look at shale resources and manage them efficiently.

“The word ‘fracking’ itself is not an ideal one – all we are talking about is gas mining. It makes sense for us to exploit our own gas store.

“It will provide energy for industry as well as for homes and businesses.”

He said that fracking gas in the US is now the cheapest in the world.

The raw material is seventy per cent of the cost in the manufacture of inorganic nitrogen fertilisers and an expansion in fracking 
has caused a glut in production.

Mr Law pointed out: “In particular, the United States were the largest importers of nitrogen only five years ago, but today they are net exporters enjoying the cheapest raw materials in the world.

“Combine this factor with a host of northern hemisphere factories opening as a result of decisions made in 2007/8 fertiliser boom, and there is a situation of over-supply which should continue for several years to come.”

The recent rains in Norfolk eased enough to allow the recently-imported cargo to be discharged without delay and with a mild winter and heavily leached soils, Laws Fertilisers is advising prompt spring dressings of fertiliser to maintain the excellent condition of winter sown crops.