Downward trajectory of fertilizer price this year could be temporary

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 8:04 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) – Producers have seen the price of fertilizer drop in the first quarter of 2023.

Nitrogen fell fourteen percent from February to March, according to the website “The Progressive Farmer.”

Your News Leader spoke to industry experts and an area farmer to see if that trend will continue.

The recent price drop in nitrogen fertilizer could be giving farmers false hope.

Joseph Sheldon, a corn farmer in Washburn, said last year, the soil had sufficient moisture, so the need for fertilizer was less.

”Going into 2023, we’ve depleted some of those fertilizer levels in the soil, so I think the fertilizer costs in ‘23 are going to be much higher,” said Sheldon.

He might not be wrong, according to Dan Sem, the general manager at Dakota Agronomy Partners in Minot.

Sem said the war in Ukraine had slowed Russia’s nitrogen exports and Europe’s natural gas usage was low.

”I’ve been in this business for 30 years. We used to deal with just local events and U.S. events that would affect the fertilizer. I would say now we’re definitely on a global scale,” said Sem.

Sheldon said last year he used fertilizer carryover from the previous year.

”You can get that on a fairly decent price compared to spring prices where the fertilizer has to be shipped in and brought in via rail and then trucked to distributors,” said Sem.

The amount of fertilizer he’ll apply this summer depends on soil tests.

North Dakota farmers haven’t started seeding yet and Sem said the supply is up.

”We’re usually the last up here in the United States to get crops planted,” said Sem.

Because of record or near-record snow totals this year, spring seeding has been delayed in North Dakota for many farmers.