- The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) and AIC Services, which manages the Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme (FIAS) is reminding farmers of their responsibilities to store fertiliser safely and securely, in light of the rising cost of nitrogen-based fertiliser and potential excess stock on farms
“As high global gas prices push up the cost of nitrogen-based fertilisers, we are aware that some farmers are facing difficult decisions about crop feeding plans this winter and next spring. This is of particular concern where farmers don’t have sufficient stock or orders in the pipeline to cover their needs, since the disruption to the fertiliser supply chain could continue into spring 2022,” says Roberta Reeve, Technical Manager of FIAS.
Another area of concern is the rising value of existing stocks of nitrogen-based fertilisers on farm which could lead to increased thefts.
“While light-hearted comments on social media about selling excess stock of fertiliser may appear harmless, this may draw attention of the situation to criminals.
“There is a risk of nitrogen-based fertilisers being used for illegitimate purposes, and anyone handling or storing these products has a responsibility to provide secure storage and to remain vigilant to potential theft,” warns Mrs Reeve.
Farmers can make best use of their available stocks of fertiliser by seeking advice from a FACTS qualified adviser.
Where cropping plans have changed and excess stocks are no longer needed, re-selling the fertiliser is an option but must be done through proper channels, via a return to the original supplier and refund or re-sale.
It is illegal to sell ammonium nitrate without the correct documentation and fertilisers should not be advertised on auction sites, local trade magazines or social media.
Mrs Reeve further reminds farmers not to purchase fertiliser unless the source is known and they have the correct documentation.
“Sellers should be FIAS approved, and you can check this on the Assurance Scheme website. You can also check with your FACTS adviser if you are unsure”.
“Everyone in the industry should be alert to the potential mis-use and mis-sale of nitrogen-based fertiliser by reporting suspicious activity or sales to the police.”
Where farmers are carrying increased stocks into the winter, they should remind themselves of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office’s five point plan for secure storage:
- Wherever possible use a FIAS approved supplier
- Wherever possible keep in a secure area such as a building or sheeted, away from public view
- Carry out regular stock checks and report any loss to the police immediately (call 101)
- Avoid leaving fertiliser in a field overnight – never leave fertiliser in field for a long period of time.
- Remember it is illegal to sell ammonium nitrate without the correct documentation