Fretting Focused On Fertilizer

Fertilizer costs and sales are very much top-of-mind these days for you and your grower-customers. In fact, most of the chatter on the CropLife website has been about fertilizer lately.

For example, one anonymous reader offered this confirmation of rumors the CropLife staff has been hearing: “N (Nitrogen) could be short in spots this spring, especially NH3 (anyhydrous ammonia). There may be solutions in some areas of the Corn Belt.

“Otherwise,” he continues. “I think P & K (phosphorus and potassium) will be off considerably due to the dealers being upside down. They cannot afford to write down their inventories and farmers are going to demand a cheaper price; therefore, they will hold off on application where they can.

“I think to sum up the problems out there, the retailers were led to believe there was never going to be a downside on fertilizer and the producers were telling the dealers and resellers the product would be tight again in ’09, thus they made the commentment to purchase high end inventories. That’s where the rubber hit the road back in July of ’08 at the Southwest Fertilizer Conference.

“I was in the business 39 years and I never remember an upside like we just went through. There will be dealers going out of business due to the pricing problems they are facing today. Given this. it will be a very interesting spring season in ’09. The men and boys will be separated this year, for sure,” he says.

Another reader, listed as ECIL, commented after reading “Storms Don’t Destroy ’08 Crop Bounty.” The article noted that USDA’s latest corn and soybean harvest reports show an excellent year for these crops.

“But this has knocked the heck out of growers’ interest of purchasing high priced imputs from last summer!” ECIL says. “Thanks PCS, Agrium, and Mosaic for your GREED!!!”

If fertilizer is also high on your agenda, be sure to check out our February issue of CropLife® magazine. Our fertilizer focus will target fertilizer industry trends, viewpoints of various fertilizer manufacturers, and a look at the micronutrient industry.

Do you know professionals in the ag retailer industry who might find this news briefing of value? If so, we hope you will pass along a copy of CropLife eNews to them, with our compliments. Their subscription will be free, as is yours. And they’ll thank you for it.

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3 comments on “Fretting Focused On Fertilizer

  1. Less than 15 years ago Muriate of Potash was priced @ $90 per ton FOB. Now I understand the price reached near $1,000 per ton prices last summer. With the same mines, the same people, and the same machinery, where was the justification for these monstrous price increases? Potash producers were saying it was a supply/demand problem, then within the past few weeks Potash Corp and Mosaic have announced major production cutbacks and layoffs at their potash mines. Somebody didn,t seem to be telling the truth, now they want to cut production? A few things have changed in the past 15 years, then their were about a dozen competitive potash producers, now we have 3 large but very greedy firms who dominate and minipulate prices. Maybe it is time to regulate pricing during this time of crisis as was done during WW11,. Better yet, maybe the Canadian Government should nationalize some or all of the Canadian mines as they did when they created PCS in 1985.

  2. I posted and feel comfortable with the above. I worked in the Potash Industry for 18 years and would be very ashamed to call my self part of that industry now. There has been to much assimilation of smaller firms by the larger, in mining, manufacturing and in retailing. I can remember when the federal government investigated conglomeration, maybe with the changes in Washington smaller non-monopolistic enterprises will be regained and protected. Anonymous

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