Fertiliser giant Yara is to cut 40% of its European ammonia production by next week due to record natural gas prices on the continent. In a statement on the matter today (Friday, September 17), the Norwegian firm said: "Record high natural gas prices in Europe are impacting ammonia production margins, and as a result Yara is curtailing production at a number of its plants.
"Including optimisation of ongoing maintenance, Yara will by next week have curtailed around 40% of its European ammonia production capacity.
The company said that it will continue to monitor the situation, "with the objective to keep supplying customers but curtailing production where necessary". Yara has multiple bases including two sites near Belfast in Northern Ireland. The news comes as the closed season for chemical fertiliser begins in Ireland. Tuesday, September 14, was the last day for farmers to spread chemical fertiliser before the annual closed period came into effect on Wednesday, September 15. Farmers are now prohibited from spreading chemical fertiliser on their lands under the rules of the Nitrates Directive until next year.

The closed period will remain enforced until January 12, in the southeast, January 15, in the midlands and west and January 31, in northern counties.

Farmers have until Friday, October 15, to spread slurry on their land while the closed period for farmyard manure starts on Monday, November 1. Slurry, farmyard manure and chemical fertilisers are prohibited from being spread over the winter in Ireland in order to comply with the EU’s Nitrates Directive.