Fall manure ban being reviewed amid fertilizer shortage Business

A ban on fall manure spreading is being considered by ministers as part of efforts to prevent a drop in food production caused by a global fertilizer shortage.

Farmers have called on the government to change the rules over fears that soaring petrol prices will lead to food shortages and hurt their profits.

The National Farmers Union said farmers should be able to use manure as an organic alternative to artificial fertiliser, for which gas is a key ingredient, as it is becoming scarce.

The cost of fertilizers, essential for growing crops and grass for livestock, quadrupled last year in some cases following sanctions imposed on Russia.

The NFU’s far-reaching proposals were shared with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last week and discussions are ongoing.

They also called for gas supply to be “preserved, protected and prioritized” for food production if food security was threatened.

Farmers are not allowed to spread manure on their fields in the fall. This would help them build healthier soils before planting next year’s crops, they claim.

Defra plans to release new guidance on so-called agricultural rules for water, including manure spreading, this spring.

The Environment Agency previously said the rules were designed to prevent water pollution from farming and the practice could be harmful.

Mark Topliff, a senior analyst at the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Council, an independent Defra body that works with farmers, said: ‘The cost of inputs rose for a few months before the Ukraine crisis, so this what it did is continued that trend and raised the price of those key inputs like fertilizer.

“Fertilizer is a big deal for farms, one of their main costs. If you bought fertilizer in October, November last year, and if you applied the same amount this year as last year you will find that your costs have increased to £200 per hectare which is significant.”

Mr Topliff said farmers are trying to reduce the amount of industrial fertilizers they can apply to their crops this year to cut costs.

“They are looking to see if they can use the 60 pieces they bought [for] this year and save 40% for next year and be able to complete that and the prices will hopefully be a bit lower,” he added.

However, using less fertilizer would mean lower wheat yield. He added that organic alternatives, such as cattle manure, “could definitely have some influence” in the winter.

More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2022-03-14 19:07:11

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *