Nitrogen fertiliser production is dependent on fossil fuels, mainly natural gas which is of course finite and must at some time become less available. In western Europe fertiliser plants using north sea gas are closing down, and we are slowly becoming dependent on nitrogen that is made using Russian natural gas, and more fertiliser is being imported from eastern Europe. The present price increases should remind us that we have largely abandoned the age old practices of maintaining soil fertility by recycling nutrients back to the soil through the application of animal and human waste, and also we now tend to grow less leguminous crops which fix nitrogen from the air.
In general, grain farmers in the west will still be able to afford fertiliser as they are now getting better prices for grain, but it will be difficult for grassland farmers.
The other losers are the world’s poorer countries who need to import oil, fertiliser and some food. All these are now much more expensive and they may have no alternative but to import less, leading to even more hungry people.