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Fertilizer Prices Mostly Higher in February as U.S. Farmers Feel the “Squeeze of Inflation”

DTN writer Russ Quinn reported on Wednesday that, “Retail fertilizer prices continued to be mostly higher the first full week of February 2022, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. All but one of the major fertilizers were higher compared to last month.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers were slightly higher, although none were up a considerable amount. DTN designates a significant move as anything 5% or more.”

“DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends,” by Russ Quinn. DTN (February 16, 2022).

Quinn stated that, “DAP had an average price of $876 per ton compared to last month, MAP $935/ton, potash $815/ton, 10-34-0 $827/ton, anhydrous $1,487/ton (all-time high), UAN28 $600/ton and UAN32 $699/ton (all-time high).

“In recent weeks, UAN28 was at or above $600/ton. This is the first time UAN28 has ever been above $600/ton in our dataset.

“One fertilizer was lower in price from the previous month. Urea was slightly lower with an average price of $905/ton.”

“Fertilizer prices spike in leading U.S. market in late 2021, just ahead of 2022 planting season,” USDA- Economic Research Service. Chart of the Day (February 09, 2022- https://bit.ly/3uVc7o5).

Meanwhile, Patrick Thomas reported in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal that,

Inflation is growing on the farm.

“American farmers are paying significantly higher prices for their weed-killing chemicals, crop seeds, fertilizer, equipment repairs and seasonal labor, eroding some of 2021’s windfall from rising crop prices. Higher farm costs could help push up grocery bills further in 2022, analysts say, following a year in which global food prices rose to decade highs.

“‘I just don’t see how I’m going to get paid this year,’ said Brooks Barnes, a second-generation farmer in Wilson County, N.C.”

The Journal article stated that, “On his farm where he grows tobacco, corn, soybeans, wheat and sweet potatoes, Mr. Barnes in the spring of 2021 said he paid $16 a gallon for Bayer AG’s Roundup, the world’s most commonly used weedkiller, for his crops. By September he bought it for about $40 a gallon and in February, his Nutrien Ltd. retailer told him it was $60 a gallon, he said. One of the fertilizers he buys, 24s, cost him $500 a ton from $175 last spring, he said. Float bed plastic, which holds water for his tobacco plant trays to float on in his greenhouses, cost him $82 a roll, compared with $70 a year ago.”

Thomas pointed out that, “Even as crop prices remain high, supply costs are expected to outpace the price of agricultural goods in 2022, according to a January report from the Federal Reserve Board. Net income for farmers in Kansas is estimated to fall 65% from a year ago, according to a January study from Kansas State University.

“Inflation Hits Farmers, Stalks Food Costs,” by Patrick Thomas. The Wall Street Journal (February 16, 2022).

Growers’ biggest expenses each year, including fertilizer and crop chemicals, such as glyphosate, used to kill weeds and other pests are soaring in price. Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is up about 250% from what it was 12 months ago, said Dean Hendrickson, vice president of marketing and business development at CHS Inc., a farm cooperative and major retailer of seeds and chemicals.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the social media manager for the farmdoc project at the University of Illinois. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily FarmPolicy.com News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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