Farmers and dealers are reporting nitrogen fertilizer shortages in various locations across the High Plains. A number of dealers have started allocating the fertilizers in order to allow more farmers to get started applying nitrogen on their fields.
Because of the rains last fall and winter, little field work was done in preparing for this year's crops, including applying nitrogen on wheat (see last week's article) and nitrogen for row crop production. Once the soils dried out for field work to begin in late February and early March, everyone across the High Plains needed nitrogen at the same time and the inventories dwindled quickly.
Anhydrous ammonia is the primary nitrogen source where most of the shortages are occurring, but there are also some reports of the liquid nitrogen sources (28% and 32%) experiencing shortages in some areas. At this time, it appears to be more of not having sufficient inventories in various locations, rather than an overall nitrogen shortage across the nation.
Due to the price spread of 8 to 10 cents difference between anhydrous and the other nitrogen sources, it is less expensive to apply anhydrous ammonia for row crop production than to use the liquid sources. This also has put a greater demand on the anhydrous ammonia nitrogen. This fertilizer shortage situation may delay some field work in areas, but it doesn't appear to be a serious situation where farmers are not going to get the nitrogen they need.
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