Farming is an unpredictable business. Seed prices, fuel expenses and fertilizer costs are always changing.
Southern Alberta farmer Gary Standford said this year, one of those has taken a major jump.
“Last fall, phosphate fertilizer was about $650 a metric tonne to buy it.
“That’s what makes your roots develop really good on your wheat crops and canola crops, so right now the phosphate price is $950 a tonne.”
Clyde Graham with Fertilizer Canada said there are many different factors that play into the cost of the product.
“The price of wheat, canola, soybeans and corn have risen dramatically. That’s given a signal to farmers that they should be trying to maximize their production,” said Graham.
“In many parts of the world they tend to increase their fertilizer consumption and there are limited supplies of fertilizer.”
Standford added there are other factors contributing to the increase, like the cost of transportation and manufacturing as well as taking into account the world demand.
“A lot of the big price is political. It’s with tariffs and trade wars with other countries.”
If the price for grains stays high, it’s likely fertilizer costs will too.
Stanford said not using the product isn’t a viable option for most farmers.
Read more: 2020 harvest begins in southern Alberta
“If we don’t have fertilizer and we don’t use fertilizer on our farms, we are going to have unhealthy crops and bad yields.”
Producers won’t know how much fertilizer they will need to replenish the spoil until after this year’s harvest, which is when most will purchase what they need for the next seeding season.
Stanford said there is no telling if or when the market will see a drop, and if it doesn’t, what the trickle down impact could be for the average consumer.