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Farmers continue to face input price volatility

Fertilizer prices have subsided from the highs of 2022, but farmers are still facing input price volatility heading into 2024. 

“There will be a lot of head scratching and sharpening the pencil to see where we can be more efficient.”

Jerry Baysinger farms in south central Nebraska and tells Brownfield waiting until spring to purchase anhydrous ammonia paid off last season, but that’s not usually the case.

“This year, ammonia is cheaper. Well, should we buy it now, or should we wait until spring? Is it going to be more expensive in the spring? Mother Nature kind of determines that, you know, if it gets on in the fall across the corn belt or if it all has to be put on in a short window in the spring.”

University of Illinois ag economist Gary Schnitkey says while fertilizer prices are down, they are still historically high.

“We’re now looking in Illinois, for example, at a anhydrous ammonia price in the $640 range, DAP in the $670 range, and potash in the $490 range.”

Schnitkey says in the near term, inflation will prevent a return to the average fertilizer prices seen from 2015-2019. He says looking ahead to the 2024 balance sheet the cost of seed, pesticides, machinery and repairs are expected to remain higher, but there is potential for a decline in fuel prices.

Audio: Interview with Gary Schnitkey

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