Why do fertilizer prices continue to go up?


There is a simple explanation to a complicated question around fertilizer price increases. There is also a fairly simple solution for maximizing the use of expensive fertilizers – Precision application through a fertigation system, otherwise known as an injection pump or dosing pump.It’s not just anhydrous ammonia prices on the rise. Phosphorus, potash and urea are experiencing the same unprecedented increases.At the end of December, phosphorus (DAP and MAP), potassium (potash) and urea prices were near or above $800 per ton, with urea and monoammonium phosphate topping $900, according to the Illinois Production Cost Report by USDA’s Agricultural Market Research. Those prices are well off the $350 to $500 range for all three products during this same time in 2020, making it the highest level for the year.
Solution?Precise fertilizer application has always been a key factor to reduce input cost, increase crop quality and yield. Now, more than ever, fertigation systems are sought after and when installed and maintained correctly, up to 25% input cost can be reduced and up 15% yield can be increased, according to our global and local customer base.I-Feeder Technologies offers a line of diaphragm positive displacement pumps, supplied as turnkey systems, meaning a full kit, easy to install and operate for the application of fertilizers and chemicals through existing irrigation equipment. Not only it saves the producer fertilizer cost as less could be applied and more uniformly, but it saves on labor, time and heavy machinery usage. Oh yes, it also supports a more sustainable farming practice of applying less fertilizers.To top it all, having the ability to prescribe the most efficient fertilization plan both in terms of what the soil and plant requires and in terms of growing more from less, the value of our sister company, Smart fertilizer Software, is making unbiased recommendations bringing the amount of fertilizer required down without compromising what the plant requires. Realizing the importance of data and installation free software which communicates with you fertigation system.Supply IssuesChina is one of the U.S. major suppliers, and the country put a restriction on exports of phosphates. Because of a trade dispute, there are also tariffs on imports. If the U.S. wants phosphorus from the Middle East, there is going to be some tax on it, which ultimately raises the cost to farmers.World inventories are tight, because of the loss of Chinese exports of phosphorus and less European production, but that is not all. At the end of November, the U.S. saw a reduction in Russian products. In the case of Russia, the country is dealing with similar issues found at U.S. ports. MU Extension economist Ray Massey explained,“It is, in part, due to diminished labor supply at ports where it is exported,” he said. “They had the stock, just like we have stockpiles off the West Coast on ships out in the sea, waiting to be unloaded. They have ships waiting to be loaded.”What can bring the price down?If prices get too high, farmers might shift away from corn to a different crop and not use as much fertilizer. Also, livestock producers will likely use less fertilizer on pasture.Europe production could increase, Chinese exports could improve, and Russian production could come back online. Stranger things have happened. However, some added relief comes in the hope that the U.S. increases its own production in the South.These are just “chances” that might help bring down fertilizer prices, but Massey is not optimistic of them becoming reality. “Right now, it looks like it’s just high and it’s gonna stay high,” he said.
Contact a team member to learn more on fertilizer application and efficiency or for any technical questions about our product range and to join our network of authorized dealers nationwide at 402.404.5081 or at [email protected]

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