ROBSTOWN, Texas — This harvest season, farmers across the country had to deal with significantly higher fertilizer prices compared to last year.
“A year ago to today, we’ve seen prices double in most cases,” said Jaime Lopez, the Nueces County Extension Agent for Texas A&M AgriLife. “Liquid nitrogen has probably tripled since last year.”
Local farmers had to find a way to cut down on costs this year. Daniel Wendland runs a farm and ranch outside of Gregory, and said he used less fertilizer this year.
“It really didn’t cut the cost, we put out less fertilizer and spent just as much money, is what it amounted to,” he said. “Between that, and what the price of fuel has done the last few days, it’s a big deal.”
Lopez said the price of fertilizer started to stabilize around January, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine could push fertilizer prices up even more.
“We do get a lot of our fertilizers from Ukraine, from Russia. We have seen some ports close down in the Belarus area, so that has caused some increase volatility in fertilizers,” he said.
Wendland said most of the farmers in the area have already planted for the season, so if there is an increase in fertilizer prices, it should not impact local farmers for a few months.
“Most of the fertilizer went out December and January, so we really don’t have an issue getting fertilizer today,” he said. “This fall, it will be a huge issue, it certainly will, if things don’t turn around.”
The increase in the price of fertilizer is expected to trickle down to consumers, and raise the price of goods.
Lopez said the price of meat has risen around 12% over the last year, and grains have risen 6% in the same time frame.
“We have probably seen some of the highest price in wheat since 2011,” he said.
The February report for the Consumer Price Index will release Thursday. Lopez said that will tell consumers what to expect for the price of goods.
“We’ll see what that’s going to tell us, but the indications are that it is probably going to increase,” he said.
“If it’s going up for me, it’s going way up for you,” Wendland said, “and you can’t sustain this without the world governments getting together and doing something about it. It can’t sustain, there will be a crash.”