By Connor Lynch
Fertilizer might not be the first thing on farmers’ minds. But it should be. A wild world market has pushed fertilizer prices way up, and there’s no telling if they’ll stop rising before the spring.
Locking in prices now is probably a farmer’s best bet, said Ryan Brophy, a certified crop advisor who runs V6 Agronomy in Eastern Ontario. For Ontario farmers, “the ship has sailed in terms of cost-effective crop inputs.” Prices aren’t good right now, but they’re “absolutely better than (they) will be in the spring.”
A variety of factors are at work on the world markets, mainly tariffs. Low prices last year took a lot of production offline, said Brophy. With soybean prices so low, the USDA is predicting many American farmers will plant corn, not soybeans. Soybeans don’t use nitrogen but corn uses plenty, pushing up demand.
Brophy said that urea prices are up by about $200 a tonne from July, then at near-historic lows. Even buying in bulk, farmers will be paying over $600 a tonne on some markets for urea and close to $800 on mono-ammonium-phosphate. Ask crop advisors about alternative products, he said.