High fertilizer prices could mean smaller harvests for farmers

COLUMBUS, Mississippi (AP) — Farmers in Mississippi are adjusting to a sharp rise in fertilizer prices.

The Mississippi State Extension Service recently released a study on how farmers are coping with near-record fertilizer prices, WCBI-TV reported.

“Mississippi is such an agricultural state,” said Jeff Hays, who works in the agricultural supplies business. “Every time you see our production go down, it goes everywhere. From your production, your cooperatives, your tractor dealers, to the fuel suppliers. Everyone is impacted. »

A bag of fertilizer that would have sold for $11 in 2021 now costs around $19.95 in 2022.

“Prices have doubled, it goes without saying that our sales volume in tonnage has fallen in line with those prices,” said Hays, who has been director of Lowndes Farm Supply since 2010.

Potash is near a record high of $800 a ton, according to the Mississippi State Study released this month. Continued supply chain disruption has led to an increase in key chemicals in fertilizers – nitrogen, phosphorus and potash – since spring 2021.

“It’s a moment of patience as the storm swirls around,” said Larry Oldham, soil scientist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, in an extension service report.

Growers trying to make crop decisions for the 2022 season can take steps to contain their costs, Oldham said in the report. Farmers need to be efficient with fertilizer application by doing careful soil testing, which can help determine fertilizer needs and avoid over-application. Applying at the best time and in the best way for maximum effectiveness is also essential, he said.

Hays said high prices will lead farmers to buy less fertilizer, which likely means a smaller harvest. He thinks prices could return to normal around June, while the MSU study says it could last until next winter.

The last time fertilizer prices skyrocketed was between 2007 and 2008. The current fertilizer price per tonne has already surpassed those previous numbers, Hays said.

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