Farmers across Mississippi are preparing for a sharp increase in fertilizer prices.
The Mississippi State Extension Service recently released a study on how farmers are coping with fertilizer prices nearing record highs, WCBI-TV reported.
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“Mississippi is such an agricultural state,” said Jeff Hays, who works in the agricultural produce business. “Every time you see our production drop, it goes everywhere. From your production, your cooperatives, your tractor dealers to fuel suppliers. Everyone is affected.”
A bag of fertilizer that would have sold for $11 in 2021 is now about $19.95 in 2022.
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“Prices have doubled, of course our sales volume in tonnage has gone down in line with those prices,” said Hays, who has been manager of Lowndes Farm Supply since 2010.
Potash is near an all-time high of $800 a ton, according to the Mississippi state study released this month. The ongoing disruption in the supply chain has caused the key chemicals in fertilizers – nitrogen, phosphorus and potash – to rise since spring 2021.
“This is a moment of patience while the storm swirls,” Larry Oldham, a soil specialist with the Mississippi State University Advisory Service, said in a report from the Advisory Service.
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Growers trying to make harvesting decisions for the 2022 season can take steps to limit their costs, Oldham said in the report. Farmers should be efficient about fertilization by conducting thorough soil surveys, which can help determine fertilization needs and avoid over-fertilization. Applying at the best time and in the best way for maximum efficiency is also crucial, he said.
Hays said the high prices will cause farmers to buy less fertilizer, which likely means a smaller harvest. He believes prices could return to normal sometime in June, while the MSU study says it could take until next winter.
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The last time fertilizer prices spiked was between 2007 and 2008. The current fertilizer price per ton has already exceeded those previous figures, Hays said.