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Argentina's rejuvenated fertilizer market

Summary

Argentina is the second largest agricultural producer in South America with over 35 million hectares of arable land devoted to major crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans. Confidence in the country's agricultural sector is riding high following the recent introduction of sweeping policy reforms. These have prompted a strong recovery in fertilizer sales in 2016, with January-August purchases up 50% year-on-year.

Abstract

Argentina has one of the most productive agricultural economies in the world. Revenues from agriculture totalling $66 billion contributed 6.5% to Argentina’s GDP in 2014, rising to 12.6% of GDP once the downstream food processing is also included. International sales of farm goods are also a major earner for the Argentinian economy. Agricultural exports worth $43 billion made up 60% of the country’s export earnings in 2014, including $15 billion from the overseas sales of primary products. Export mainstays include soybeans, wheat and corn as well as processed products such as animal feed, flour and vegetable oils. Primary crops exports are mainly destined for China (23%), Europe (16%), the Middle East and North Africa (12%). Keywords: Argentina, Fertilizers, Nutrients, Nitrogen, Potash, Phosphate, Demand, Supply, Deliveries, Application rates, Consumption, Imports, Soybean, Corn, Maize, Wheat, Sunflower, Barley, Urea, DAP, MAP, SSP, TSP, UAN, Profertil, YPF, Bunge, Mosaic, Vale, Agrium, Agroservicios Pampeanos, ASP, Terminal de Fertilizantes Argentinos, Asociacion de Cooperativas Argentinas, ACA, INTA, USDA, Fertilizar Asociacion Civil, Rio Colorado project, Export tax

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A merger of equals?

Summary

The proposed Agrium-PotashCorp merger would create a Canadian fertilizer giant worth more than $25 billion. Agrium's large network of retail stores in the US, Canada, Australia and South America would provide PotashCorp with valuable farm access for its products. The massive company created by the merger would also be a dominant force in North American fertilizer production, controlling 62% of potash capacity, 30% of phosphate capacity and 29% of nitrogen capacity, according to some estimates.

Abstract

For fertilizer producers, the need to maintain margins and improve operational efficiency is a business imperative. This is especially true in an oversupplied market at a time of falling prices. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) offer an obvious short cut in the quest to cut costs, gain market share and create extra value. In recent years, however, a number of large mergers between major fertilizer producers have fallen by the wayside and failed to complete. The proposed nitrogen industry merger between OCI and CF Industries, for example, fell apart in May after the US Treasury moved to tighten corporate tax rules. Keywords: Merger, M&A, Mergers & Acquisitions, Consolidation, Agrium, PotashCorp, K+S, Legacy project, Potash, Nitrogen, Phosphates, Retail, North America, Canada, United States, CRU, Argus FMB, Integer Research

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Getting more crop per drop

Summary

The development of drip irrigation is arguably one of the most important agricultural advances of the last 50 years. Although more than 11 million hectares of land are watered by drip irrigation globally, the technology's agricultural potential is still in its infancy. The thriving commercial market for drip irrigation equipment is worth $2.2 billion and expanding by around a fifth every year. Fertigation – the ability to efficiently manage and regulate both water and plant nutrients – is a key advantage that is helping drive worldwide growth.

Abstract

In June 2012, David Hillel, an Israeli scientist who pioneered an innovative way of efficiently delivering water to crops in arid and semi-arid regions, was awarded the World Food Prize. The method Hillel helped develop, drip irrigation, supplies water directly to plant roots in small amounts – dramatically cutting crop water requirements and at the same time boosting crop yields. Keywords: Irrigation, Drip irrigation, Micro-irrigation, Trickle irrigation, Flood irrigation, Furrow irrigation, Sprinkler irrigation, Water use efficiency, WUE, Fertigation, Sugarcane, Rice, Grapes, Cotton, Soft fruits, Fruit trees, Row crops, Rabobank, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, ICID, Netafim, Jain Irrigation Systems, China, India, Spain, Israel, United States, Florida, Texas

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'Godzilla' El Niño leaves a lasting legacy

Summary

We review the impact of the 2015/16 El Niño on global agriculture and fertilizer demand, and assess how climate change is influencing this irregular weather phenomenon. Maize harvests in South Africa and Central America, wheat production in Morocco, Malaysian palm oil output, and rice growing in India and Thailand were all hit by the latest El Niño event.

Abstract

The El Niño episode which began in May 2015 and lasted until the following spring was either the most or the third most intense on record, depending on how it was measured. Such was its strength, some media outlets began calling it the 'Godzilla' El Niño due to its unprecedented magnitude. El Niño – The Boy in Spanish – is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops near the equator in the central and eastern Pacific. The converse phenomenon La Niña – The Girl – is caused by the cooling of ocean water in the same region. Keywords: El Niño, La Niña, Australia, South Africa, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Morocco, Maize, Rice, Palm oil, Wheat, Barley, FAO, International Fertilizer Association, IFA, Fertilizer Demand, Yield, Monsoon, Drought, Flooding, Weather, Climate change, Global warming

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Fertilizer handling – a growing market

Summary

Moving from traditional fertilizer handling methods to the latest technology offers great operational gains and clear commercial advantages. The benefits of such as switchover can prove surprising, as Bertil Andersson, Siwertell's sales manager, explains.

Abstract

Handling dry fertilizers and fertilizer raw materials in bulk poses some challenges. The three key aspects to handling fertilizers successfully are minimising cargo degradation, limiting environmental impacts and maintaining high safety standards. However, to provide the greatest commercial benefits, fertilizer handling technology also needs to provide the high capacity and efficient through-ship performance that operators expect. Totally-enclosed systems with high performance screw-type unloaders are leading the way, as they have the advantage of being able to satisfy all of these demands. Many operators and sectors have adopted and embraced this new technology. Others have yet to make the change, preferring to stick with traditional unloading methods instead, often because of the industry’s relative conservativism. Keywords: Siwertell, Technology, Dry bulk handling, Ship unloaders, Ship loaders, Grab unloaders, Grab cranes, Screw-type unloaders, Discharge capacity, Through-ship capacity, Conveyors, Spillage, Emissions, Safety, Fertilizer terminals, Fertilizers, Sulphur, India, Australia, Sweden, Paradeep Phosphates Limited, PPL, Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative Limited, IFFCO, Fremantle Port Authority

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SOP: the second largest potash market

Summary

Sulphate of potash (SOP) fertilizer commands a premium price due to its value as a chloride-free source of potash for lucrative cash crops such as tobacco, tree nuts and citrus fruits. We examine the global demand for SOP and the prospects for new primary and secondary supply over the medium-term.

Abstract

The potassium sulphate (SOP) fertilizer market has come under the spotlight recently. Primary SOP projects in particular have attracted the interest of investors in recent months. The explanations for this, and the overall attraction of the SOP market, are not hard to fathom. As a potash fertilizer, SOP is second only to potassium chloride (MOP, muriate of potash) in terms of global market size, accounting for about 8% of world potash demand. SOP prices have also appreciated by around 10% in the last three years whilst MOP prices have declined by more than two-fifths over this period. These changes mean that SOP is currently enjoying a price advantage of almost $300/t over MOP. Keywords: Sulphate of Potash, SOP, Primary producers, Secondary producers, Mannheim process, Demand, Supply, Consumption, Trade, Outlook, Muriate of potash, MOP, Price premium, Chloride sensitivity, Chloride intolerance, Tree nuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Tea, Tobacco, Mangoes, Potatoes, Citrus, Peas, China, India, United States, Belgium, Germany, Taiwan, Iran, Russia, Brazil, Central America, South America, Nutrient based subsidy scheme, NBS, Luobupo, CRU, International Fertilizer Association, IFA

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Phosphate and potash mining innovation

Summary

We look at state-of-the-art technology used in phosphate and potash mining, including continuous mining and haulage systems, in-pit crushing and conveying, and paste plants for tailings thickening.

Abstract

Modern economies are built on the secure supply of affordable materials. The reason why the price of many mineral commodities has remained largely unchanged over successive decades – even though demand has risen and extracting ore has become ever harder – can be credited to one crucial factor: innovation. Phosphate and potash producers, like others in the mining sector, look to innovation to control their costs and maintain margins over the longer term. Keywords: Phosphate, Potash, Mining, Technology, Innovation, Automation, Autonomous, In-pit crushing and conveying, IPCC, Paste plants, Tailings thickening, Continuous miners, Continuous haulage systems, Opex, CO2 emissions, Koashvinsky, Kirovsk, Siilinjärvi, Finland, Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Saskatchewan, Vanscoy, Rocanvile, Boulby, Outotec, Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, Yara, Apatit, PhosAgro, Joy Global, Prairie Machine and Parts, PM&P, Caterpillar, Sandvik, Intrepid Potash, ICL, Rio Tinto, PotashCorp, Agrium, Citi

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