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NEWS: Farmers Worry Over Fertilizer Costs

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posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 11:06 PM
Farmers are worried about the soaring cost of fertilizers. In the early 1990's fertilizer cost $200/tonne, this year the price is $410/tonne. The increase in fertilizer prices is a reflection of the methods used to generate the ammonia and nitrates they contain. The ingredients of the fertilizer are extracted via natural gas which has skyrocketted in price along with oil. These increases in fertilizer prices for farmers will eventually be passed on to the consumer via higher prices for all food.
OMAHA, Neb. - Dave Nielsen just spent nearly $14,000 to fertilize his crops, an amount he never could have imagined when he started farming 20 years ago.

But the $410 a ton Nielsen paid is symptomatic of the crunch farmers are feeling this year as the cost of fertilizer soars. While rising natural gas prices are causing concerns about heating costs this winter, farmers are wondering how they'll pay for fertilizer, which uses the energy source to produce its main ingredients, such as ammonia or nitrates.

"There's just a lot of uncertainty in agriculture right now because of the energy costs, and fertilizer is probably the best example of what the uncertainty means in their financial picture next year," said Rob Robertson, vice president of governmental relations at the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Forget fretting over petrol prices at the pump, you can always ride a bike or walk. But what choice do we have when the price of our food starts to rise to ever increasing amounts? Fossil fuel prices affect the price of food in more ways than just fertilizer, the harvesting of the crops requires fuel for tractors/harvesters etc, the transport to the factories/supermarkets requires fuel for trucks etc.

All these activities are tied to the price of oil. When the price of oil rises our price for food will match it. This is a grave threat we are facing if the price of food just doubles. There is a likelihood of it increasing by much more than 200% if the theory of peak oil is accurate. $200/barrel of oil will see food prices out of reach of most average families.

[edit on 19/10/05 by subz]

posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 11:27 PM
The farmers will adapt to lower crop yields Subz--if the price of fertilizer goes up as much as you seem to think it will. Besides, most places can plant green fertilizers and then till them under. Such practices are not as productive as chemical fertilizers but they are actually better for the soil. A reduction in chemical fertilizer use would be a boon to our waterways and even to our oceans, so the situation isn't as bleak as you seem to think.

posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 12:18 AM
Being in agriculture myself I can testify to this. It is DEVASTATING. Unless you are in agriculture Astronomer68 your statement is useless. Its just not possible to substitute these fertilizers with anything else and expect the same results in the world.

Sure you could spread some manure on your field. Of course then people will complain that it will contaminate their water supply.

These prices will have a massive effect on world output. Farmers in my area cannot afford to farm at last years prices let alone these. Production numbers are already going down and its not near seeding.

Around here our fertilizer costs have doubled in one year and prices have dropped by double. Not so bleak?

Canola used to be near 10 dollars now its around 4 or 5. Mind you that crop will not yield anything with pitiful fertilizer amounts.

But I have good news.

Grain isn't going up now. And it should. I cannot speak for United States situations, but here harvest has been a complete disaster.

-Water filled fields that cannot be harvested
-Bleached wheat, grades down to 3 (bad)
-Sprouted barley, none malt
-Canola prices not worth selling (below input cost)
-Flax still in fields

Last year it was frost, this year it was rain. Most grains are feed level. And no that's not for human consumption.

So basically you have crappy grain and grain prices at all time lows. ( At times they were lower than the great depression )

Companies may raise the price of food. But the price of grain will remain low.

Its not fair but that's how it is.

posted on Oct, 20 2005 @ 01:07 AM
I'm not a farmer anymore. I was a cotton farmer for years, but got out of it to go work for the govt.

You know, I almost added a comment to the end of my first post saying that many farmers would probably go broke because they inevitably get squeezed in the middle. My comment was meant to imply that farming would continue at reduced yields (not that farmers wouldn't be hurt).

[edit on 20-10-2005 by Astronomer68]

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