“I had to stop my tractor because I ran out of urea resolution. My winter crop may be ruined if I can’t run the tractor before the ground freezes,” said Ko Chul-soon (age 61), a rice farmer in Ganghwa, Incheon, in a telephone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo. For farmers like Ko, tractors are used for various errands in November. They are used to tie up rice straws after a year’s crop is harvested. Tractors are a must need when performing rotary work, or tilling soil, before starting winter crop preparation. “All the farm work was brought to a stop because I couldn’t find DEF at the Agriculture Cooperative and couldn’t trust what they well online,” he said.
The ongoing shortage of urea resolution is impacting farms, bringing farming machinery manufactured since 2014 and exceeding 75 horsepower to a standstill.
Urea inventories at fertilizer companies are also depleting quickly, leading to out-of-stock situations for fertilizers which rely on urea as raw material. “I bought five sacks of fertilizer after waiting in line because my friends told me that I wouldn’t be able to buy any if I don’t buy right away,” said Jeon (age 63), a farmer who lives in Goisan County, South Chungcheong Province.
Meanwhile, some Agriculture Cooperative branches are limiting household purchases of fertilizer. “We have inventories to last us until the first half of next year, but we need to manage inventory levels as we now have to deal with surging demand,” said an official at the National Agriculture Cooperative Federation.