6 November 2001
Driver shortage to hit fertiliser supply
By Olivia Cooper
A SHORTAGE of hauliers could mean fertiliser supply problems in the spring, merchant Banks Cargill has warned.
Fertiliser director Stuart Allison said that although about 80% of winter cereals are now planted, only 40% of the nitrogen needed has been ordered.
“With the increased cereal and oilseed rape acreage, nitrogen consumption is expected to rise by around 300,000t,” he says.
“One key difficulty is the falling number of hauliers who are licensed to carry ammonium nitrate and other hazardous products.”
Roger Wrapson, manager of hazardous goods for the Road Haulage Association, said there is a “serious shortage of drivers”.
The specialist equipment and training required is expensive, and there has been a marked decline in the number of hauliers renewing their licenses, he explains.
But consultant Roger Chesher told FWi there will not be a dearth of nitrogen, despite an anticipated rush of demand in the spring.
“No-one will miss out on fertiliser, but those who leave their order too late might not get exactly what they want when they want it.”
AN is currently 8/t cheaper than last year, at 114/t delivered, but a monthly rise of 2/t is expected, favouring the early buyer.
“Purchasing fertiliser pre-Christmas will help farmers to avoid all of these obstacles and will ensure product is on farm for the first application,” says Mr Allison.