Rising Fertilizer Prices Worry Chautauqua County Farmers | News, Sports, Jobs


OBSERVE photo by Dennis Phillips Dick Kimball of Dewittville is pictured at Country Ayre Farms. Kimball said there was concern over insufficient supplies and the potential for farmers to have fewer crops planted this coming season.

The price of fertilizers that farmers apply to their crops each year during harvest season has risen, worrying some farmers in Chautauqua County.

There are several reasons for this increase, in particular the increase in the price of milk, as well as that of the price of corn. But as with fuel prices, much of the increase is due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

According to Clymer’s Randy Wassink, the conflict in Ukraine may have less impact now than it will later because many places already have their fertilizer.

â Ukraine probably doesn’t have much to do with the fertilizer going into the ground this spring,Wassink said. “Many places already have their fertilizer in stock or on hand. Planting in the south has already started.

Wassink added that the U.S. no longer doing business with Russia is more likely to affect purchased fertilizers for 2023 more.

The fertilizer that most farms use on their crops is made up of three parts; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Of the three parts, nitrogen is the only one that is exported from Russia, which means that the cost of nitrogen in fertilizer is what is currently increasing. Phosphorus and potassium can be mined in several places around the world, but come mainly from Florida and Canada.

The price of potassium from Canada now has the potential to rise as well, according to Dewittville’s Dick Kimball.

âI was just reading that the railroad in Canada was on strike,“Kimball said:”and the fertilizer we get from Canada comes in by rail.ã

Additionally, Kimball said there is concern over the shortage of supply and the potential for farmers to have fewer crops planted this coming season.

â I just talked to my man about fertilizers this morning,said Kimball. “Fertilizer prices are twice as high as they were at this time last year. But inputs for weeding have increased by 25%. Everything has really increased, all the inputs for the farmers are really high. I worry about the possibility of having a shortage. Before we could get the price of fertilizer before buying it, now we have to wait for that day. I’m afraid it also means less inputs and crops.

Clymer’s Bradley Edwards also discussed higher input costs hurting local farmers in the current and coming season.

âI still buy fertilizer but with the high cost this year I won’t buy as much,said Edwards. “It is sad that when the farmer finally gets some more money for his produce, the cost of inputs goes up for him. Unfortunately, everything follows the price of fuel and I don’t see it going down anytime soon. Grains are going to play a big part in stealing dairy check profits this year. I really feel for the farmer on that one.

Along the same lines, Wassink said prices for items such as corn have gone up, which has allowed the farmer to earn more money. This means they can afford to spend more, which increases their return on investment and drives up the cost of everything.

Likewise, he added that the price of anything that uses nitrogen will go up because of the war between Russia and Ukraine, so as the price of nitrogen goes up, so will anything that contains nitrogen.

“When fuel prices go up like a rocket and come down like a feather, so will fertilizer and other commodities,” Wassink said.

But, it’s possible, Wassink said, that farmers are doing something else to help cope with rising fertilizer prices. This includes the use of sulfur ä which allows other non-synthetic nitrogens to function better ä in elements such as gypsum.

âThe agronomy of the departments has the particularity of being very dairy-based,Wassink said. “With the use of things like cow manure, of which we have plenty, the demand for synthetic nitrogen and its use can be greatly reduced or minimized.



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