With High Fertilizer Prices is it Business as Usual or Should Fertilization Practices Change?
After the spike in natural gas price in the winter of 2000-2001 the price of natural gas and N fertilizers have fluctuated, but remained above previous historic levels. Seasonal trends have also resulted in both N product availability and high cost issues, including this fall. Recently, similar problems have hit phosphate and potash fertilizers where world demand and production problems (hurricanes affecting phosphate production in Florida) have negatively affected product price and supply in the United States. With these trends, are there fertilizer use practices that should change, or does crop response to fertilization pay no matter the cost? Crop nutrient applications should be determined by evaluating expected return from each input. If allocation is required due to limited product availability, product price, or available financial resources, then decisions about fertilizer use should also be judged against other crop production needs, enterprise requirements, and overall farm business goals. Considering all potential inputs for producing crops, the focus should be on garnering optimum positive return. Following is information to help guide fertilization decisions when prices are high or product availability is short.