Sat, 03 Jun 2023

JACKSON, Mississippi: Record high fertilizer prices could result in Mississippi farmers planting smaller crops in 2022.

"Mississippi is such an agricultural state. Anytime you see our production drop, it goes everywhere. From your production, your co-ops, your tractor dealers, to fuel suppliers, everybody's impacted," said Jeff Hays, manager of Lowndes Farm Supply, as quoted by the Associated Press.

In 2020, a bag of fertilizer in Mississippi cost $11, but in 2022 the price is $19.95.

"The prices doubled. Needless to say, our volume of sales in tonnage has dropped off in correspondence to those prices," Hays added.

According to officials, potash is close to an all-time high of $800 per ton, and the ongoing supply chain disruption has caused the prices of the main chemicals used in fertilizers, nitrogen, phosphorus and potash to rise since early 2021.

In a report from the extension service, Larry Oldham, soil specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said, "This is a moment for patience as the storm swirls."

He added that farmers seeking to make crop decisions for the 2022 season can take steps to limit their costs, and should be efficient with fertilizer applications by conducting careful soil testing, which can help determine fertilizer needs and avoid over-application.

High prices will mean farmers will purchase less fertilizer, likely meaning a smaller harvest, Hays stressed, noting that he believes prices could return to normal some time around June.

Current fertilizer prices per ton have already exceeded previous highs set between 2007 and 2008, Hays noted.

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