Glitch hits supplies of fertiliser

Kate MatthewsCountryman

Fertiliser supplier Superfert has confirmed product will arrive today and next week for farmers affected by shipping delays.

Superfert managing director Leroux Beyers said the company had to delay vessels carrying its stock, because its warehouse was full for most of the first quarter of the year.

"We have had a rush on stock in the past couple of weeks and are bringing stock in from our Adelaide warehouse to service most of our customers here," he said.

Mr Beyers said most growers had collected their orders but a small percentage - 1000 tonnes of a 100,000t business - had been affected.

Rain last week increased the urgency of getting stock in because many farmers wanted to start seeding.

"We are doing the best we can," Mr Beyers said. "It's not ideal. Ideally we should have had all of our stock arrive last week but it is coming in.

"We have some stock here, so we are accommodating some farmers by giving them a different product so they can start seeding immediately."

The need for more storage space has been addressed by the company, with a 7500t capacity extension to be completed in the next few weeks.

It will boost the capacity of the warehouse to 42,500t for next season.

Mr Beyers said it would then be a matter of managing stock turnover and shipping.

Kendenup grower Ben Oldfield ordered fertiliser in March for April pickup but received it last Friday.

"It was frustrating because I couldn't start seeding and we'd had 10mm of rain. It would have been ideal," he said.

Mr Oldfield said he would continue to use Superfert because he had a good relationship with his local agent.

A Fertilizer Industry Federation of Australia spokesman said the situation was common if there was an early break or if ships were late but it was the first case heard of this year.

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