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Fertilizer Prices Higher, But Relief May Come

Fertilizer prices across Western Canada are considerably higher than earlier this year. However, some price relief may be on the way.

Fertilizer prices have really stayed high all through the season, said Doug Chorney, president of the Manitoba Keystone Agricultural Producers Association.

Prices over the past 12 months in Manitoba have increased for some nitrogen fertilizers by as much as 50 per cent, to $950 from $630 a tonne, he said. Higher grain values contributed to the upward costs for producers, he said.

The prices are making it uneconomical for many Manitoba farmers to fertilize their fields, Chorney said.

While Manitoba farmers are hesitant to start fertilizing lands thanks to skyrocketing costs, Alberta farmers are more likely to spread the costs between now and the springtime, said Humphrey Banack, president of Alberta s Wild Rose Agricultural Producers Association. Fertilizer costs in Alberta have increased between 30 per cent to 40 per cent this spring as strong demand for commodities continues to spill over into the overall agricultural market, he said.

Arlynn Kurtz, vice-president of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan said fertilizer prices have gone up compared to the springtime. Higher demand, due to more pressure to produce higher yields, bumped prices up, he said.

Despite higher costs, farmers in Saskatchewan will likely purchase more fertilizer now rather than just before spring seeding, as they want to lock supply up to take advantage of more yields and prevent potential future price shocks, he said.

While current costs for fertilizers are hurting western Canadian farmers, hope for some stabilization in prices may be on the horizon.

David Asbridge, president of NPK Fertilizer Advisory Service in Chesterfield, Missouri said fertilizer prices are starting to balance out after the above-normal levels seen earlier this year. U.S. farmers wanting to grow higher corn yields, along with natural gas concerns from Trinidad and Tobago contributed to rising global fertilizer costs, he said.

With the slight decline in international nitrogen and phosphate prices, the effects will trickle into North America as the winter progresses, with no increases over the winter months expected as producers head into the springtime, he said.

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