Current fertilizer prices call for precise input management

As fertilizer prices increase, Clemson nutrient management specialist Bhupinder Farmaha encourages growers to precisely manage inputs and set realistic goals this year.

Current fertilizer prices call for precise input management

Updated Apr 7 



Fertilizers claim much of the input costs for growing crops and a Clemson University specialist says that, especially with today’s fertilizer prices, precise input management is important.


Bhupinder Farmaha, a nutrient management specialist housed at the Clemson Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, South Carolina, and Clemson Cooperative Extension Service agent, recently conducted a Zoom meeting to talk about crop fertilizer needs. Among row crops, corn demands the most in fertilizer costs.


“For corn, 37% of the input operating costs goes to fertilizer,” Farmaha said. “Because fertilizer prices are continually increasing, it is very important for growers to precisely manage fertilizer inputs.”


Several factors, including increased costs in nitrogen, phosphate and potash, have attributed to the climb in fertilizer prices. These prices have doubled since the end of 2020 when prices were about $400 per ton. Nitrogen recommendations for corn are based on yield goals. For phosphorus and potassium, farmers should account for sub-soil fertility by taking 6-inch to 12-inch samples.


“Right now, we are at more than $800 per ton,” Farmaha said. “Because fertilizer prices have doubled, managing inputs has become quite challenging. So, farmers should set realistic goals this year.”


Understanding the roles nutrients play in maximizing yields helps growers understand where they can cut and still profit. Soil tests and lime to adjust soil acidity levels are two items that should not be cut, Farmaha said. Soil tests can show growers the level of nutrients already in the soil, indicating where less fertilizer is needed. When the soil acidity level, or pH, is found to be less than required for a crop, a liming adjustment is recommended to bring the soil pH to the “Target pH.”

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Agribusiness Corn Fertility

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Denise Attaway Clemson, SC
Updated Apr 7
 
Current fertilizer prices call for precise input management

Current fertilizer prices call for precise input management

Fertilizers claim much of the input costs for growing crops and a Clemson University specialist says that, especially with today’s fertilizer prices, precise input management is important.Bhupinder Farmaha, a nutrient management specialist housed at...

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Categories: Agribusiness, Corn, Fertility

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Jim Kurtz Clearwater, FL
Apr 7
I'm keenly interested in the fertilizer situation, as my company launched a product that helps make plants more efficient in fertilizer usage. Given the current climate, it's important to know how much of a problem it is for farmers.

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Denise Attaway Clemson, SC
Apr 8
@Jim Kurtz to answer your question about how much of a problem the current fertilizer situation is for farmers, Dr. Bhupinder Farmaha, nutrient management specialist, said: Given the current fertilizer situation, this can be a real problem for farmers if they don't properly manage their inputs. Farmers might look at new products if additional costs related to the product will improve nutrient use efficiency and profitability. However, the product needs to be backed by university research.

Dr. Nathan Smith, economist, said: Fertilizer prices had doubled by the beginning of 2022 compared to last year and since the Russian war with Ukraine, have tripled in price. It's a big problem for farmers growing field crops as well as forages and produce, looking at 20%-30% increase in cost of production and potential large losses if yields are off any in 2022.

Please let me know if you need anything else. Thanks and have a nice weekend!

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Jim Kurtz Clearwater, FL
Apr 8
Thank you for the information! This confirms what we've been hearing as well. Our company launched a program to do 1000 science trials of our technology with universities around the world.

Whereas previously, most farmers mainly focused on yield, now they seem more concerned with input efficiency.

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Denise Attaway Clemson, SC
Updated Apr 8
@Jim Kurtz Dr. Farmaha said if your company is interested in contracting work with his team for trials in South Carolina, he'll be happy to discuss it with you. His contact info is:
Office: Clemson Edisto REC, 
64 Research Road Blackville SC 29817
Phone: 803-284-3343
Email: bfarmah@clemson.edu

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Jim Kurtz Clearwater, FL
Apr 8
Thanks! I'll forward his info to our CEO Francesco Arlia. He oversees our research trials.

Have a good weekend!

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Denise Attaway Clemson, SC
Apr 7
Thanks! I'll check with our researchers and economists and get back with you.

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@Jim Kurtz did you see this article about fertilizer prices? Perhaps Denise has some good input for your fertilizer shortage question.

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Denise Attaway Clemson, SC
Apr 7
@Jim Kurtz please let me know if you have any fertilizer-related questions and I'll contact one of our specialists. Thanks!

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