Source: Purdue University

Unsettled fertilizer markets adjusting to the new realities following the world financial crisis are causing angst for fertilizer companies, agricultural retailers, and farmers who are trying to line up supplies and determine prices. With the spring planting season now just a few weeks away, a brief look at some of the fundamentals of fertilizer markets should be helpful for both growers and agricultural retailers as they develop their plans for spring.

For many years there was little interest or excitement in discussing or analyzing fertilizer markets, as somewhat predictable and incremental price changes were the rule. This all changed in 2001 with nitrogen fertilizers, and became especially acute in 2008 for a variety of nutrient sources. Unfortunately, few financial tools allow a retailer or a farmer to manage their fertilizer price risk.

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