Fertiliser producer and carbon dioxide supplier CF Fertilisers blames high gas prices as it permanently shuts one of the UK's only two major facilities, leaving the food supply chain and farming open to "threats," according to farmers and food trade organisations.
Operations at both the Billingham and Ince manufacturing facilities were shuttered in September 2021 due to high natural gas prices.
CF Fertilisers wrote that it believes "that only one manufacturing facility is needed to fulfil the domestic demand it has been serving." But farmer unions and trade organisations disagreed.
"This comes at a time when costs and supply face unprecedented risk. This closure is likely to further restrict global supply and we are seeking urgent clarification from CF Fertilisers on the production capabilities of its remaining plant at Billingham," he added.
The publication talked to several other organisations including Jo Gilbertson, head of fertilisers at the Agricultural Industries Confederation, who said that this "will affect all sorts of things."
"If we don't have access to nitrogen fertilisers it affects everything from the cost of milk and meat products on the shelves to the price of bread because milling wheat needs the high protein level you get from nitrogen. Then you have to import grain and there's a shortage of that because of the crisis in Ukraine," she said.
"Costs and supply face unprecedented risks and we need a visible, transparent market to allow producers, distributors and farmers alike to manage these threats in a commercially viable way," he added.
"It is a real possibility that nitrogen fertiliser is the limiting factor globally over the next 18 months which, alongside the crisis in the Ukraine, will restrict global crop production and deepen the humanitarian disaster," said Bradshaw.