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French January Nitrogen-Fertilizer Sales Slip as Potassium Gains

French nitrogen-fertilizer shipments fell about 6 percent in January from a year earlier, while deliveries of potassium and phosphate nutrients rose, industry association Unifa said.

Sales of nitrogen, used by farmers to boost plant yields, were 173,000 metric tons in January, Paris-based Unifa wrote in an e-mailed report today. Since the July 1 start of the 2012-13 crop year, sales rose 3 percent to 1.23 million tons, it said.

France is the largest grain and oilseed grower in the 27-nation European Union and the biggest user of crop nutrients, according to the International Fertilizer Industry Association.

“Autumn crops suffered from excess water during winter in some regions,” Unifa wrote. “The surface that needs to be replanted due to these flooding situations isn’t very big, in any case a lot less than in 2012 after the frost in February.”

Sales of nitrogen in the form of single-nutrient fertilizer dropped to 144,100 tons in the first month of 2013 from 156,200 tons a year earlier, Unifa data showed.

Phosphate-fertilizer shipments in France jumped 8 percent in January to 43,000 tons, while they advanced 9 percent to 316,000 tons from May through that month, Unifa said. Potassium deliveries rose 4 percent in January to 38,000 tons and were stable since May at 354,000 tons, the industry group reported.

The association tracks nitrogen sales on the basis of a year that starts July 1, while the marketing year for potassium and phosphorus begins May 1.

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