High cost, demand for fertilizer bedevil farmers, suppliers

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

The soaring price of fertilizer is forcing farmers to switch crops, cut back on fertilizer or search for manure as a substitute for chemical fertilizer.

Between 2001 and 2006, global demand for fertilizer jumped 14 percent, according to The Fertilizer Institute, a Washington D.C.-based trade group. The price increase means the cost of fertilizing an acre of average-yield U.S. corn rose from about $30 to $160.

Wholesalers and retailers are scrambling to find and buy fertilizer further in advance and juggle what supplies they have to meet customers' needs.

Hammelman Nitrate is a small, independent fertilizer retailer in the town of Edwardsport in southwestern Indiana. The business' owner says he lost a few sales last winter because he couldn't get supplies quickly enough for some of his customers.

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