Keywords: price volatility, fertiliser prices, European Union, fertilisation costs, sustainable agriculture, Farm Accountancy Data Network, mineral fertilisers, nitrogen fertilisers, phosphorous fertilisers, potash fertilisers, EU farmers, cereal crops, oilseed crops, protein crops, agricultural production
Analysis of price volatility of mineral fertilisers: possible issues for European farmers
European farmers are currently affected by an increase in the price of fertilisers (from an index of 100 in 2005 to 150 in 2012 after it peaked at almost 200 at the end of 2008) that calls into question the future availability of these kinds of inputs. Since 2007, the strong demand from emerging countries, geopolitical tensions over natural resources, and the rise in the price of energy have been exerting upward pressure on the prices of mineral fertilisers that affect farmers' production costs especially in the European Union, which is not self–sufficient in sources of NPK. Analysis of data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network shows that the cost of fertilisers increased from 80/ha in 2004 to 114/ha in 2011. This rise had the highest impact in 2009 because it was not offset by higher agricultural prices (the cost of fertilisers accounted for 5.4% of agricultural production in 2009 and only 4.4% in 2011). The cost of fertilisers and its increase is particularly high for farms specialised in cereal, oilseed and protein crops, and accounted for 13.9% of agricultural production in 2009.