UGA Expert: I Hope Fertilizer Prices Have Peaked

Clint Thompson Fertilizer

By Clint Thompson

Fertilizer prices may be at an all-time high but that shouldn’t automatically compel row crop producers to try to cut back on certain nutrients.

Glen Harris

This is important to consider since commodity prices remain advantageous for farmers, says Glen Harris, University of Georgia (UGA) Professor and Extension Agronomist in Environmental Soil and Fertilizer.

“Everybody wants to know where to cut. Sometimes you cut your yield, and right now commodity prices are good, so that might not be the best idea,” Harris said. “If you look through some of our economists’ projections based on today’s budgets, even with these higher fertilizer prices, if you make decent yields and these commodity prices hold, you’re still covering the price of your fertilizer.”

Fertilizer prices for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium are especially high and may not come down until next summer or fall, Harris estimates. Nitrogen prices are 95 cents per pound, compared to 50 cents in 2020. Phosphorous costs are 67 cents per pound, compared to 40 cents in 2020. Potassium expenses are 68 cents per pound, compared to 34 cents in 2020.

“I’m not sure they’re going to go up anymore than they are right now. I’m not sure they’re going to go down any either. Every indication I’ve heard is they’re going to remain stable for a while, and the question is how long? I think some people are hoping they’re going to go down before they buy their fertilizer this spring, and I’m not sure that’s going to happen,” Harris said.

Cotton and corn production utilizes more nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Peanuts are a deep-rooted legume that don’t require many fertilizer applications.