The Australian Nitrogen Fertiliser Value Chain

29 June 2023 by smartfertiliser-hub

Hugh Wirtz, Garry Griffith, Paul Deane and Bill Malcolm. “The Australian Nitrogen Fertiliser Value Chain.” Australasian Agribusiness Perspectives 2023, Volume 26, Paper 7

Over the past century nitrogen fertilisers have become a key input into Australian cropping and pasture systems. In relatively recent times, concern has been raised about environmental damage caused by their use. Australia has a well-developed market for nitrogen fertilisers, but little is documented about how the wider value chain of fertiliser operates. The focus of this paper is on describing the operation of the nitrogen fertiliser value chain in Australia and the potential role of enhanced efficiency fertilisers in the market. If economic, enhanced efficiency fertilisers are a technology with the potential to deliver improved environmental outcomes. A global value chain perspective is taken which encompasses both onshore and offshore firms that produce, distribute and retail nitrogen fertilisers across Australia. Data was collected through internet resources, phone interviews with participants in the fertiliser value chain and from government statistics. With this data, the nitrogen fertiliser value chain was mapped to trace, and understand, the flow of product and the form and extent of services, and value, added by the different firms operating along the value chain.

Whilst a number of enhanced efficiency fertilisers exist in the Australian fertiliser market, uptake by farmers has been low and slow. Most of the deployment of enhanced efficiency fertilisers is done at the distribution level of the value chain by a small number of lead firms. The descriptive information provided in this paper is the basis for a companion paper assessing the performance of the fertiliser value chain which leads to suggesting ways in which the uptake of enhanced efficiency fertilisers might be increased.

View the full paper here

Back to top link