23 Feb 2009



February 23, 2009-Norcross, Georgia, USA-
Like baseball teams across the land, most farmers plan to go into the spring with hopes of the best season they've ever had. But many crop producers will be starting with one strike against them if they make the wrong choice on important fertilization decisions.

"Seems like everyone is concerned about fertilizer. In North America, we did not have a normal fall fertilizer season in 2008 and that is putting a lot of pressure on moving product this spring," explains Dr. Terry Roberts, President of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). "There has been lots of talk about price dictating 2009 cropping plans, but farmers are holding off on decisions hoping for better prices and considering cutting back on phosphate or potash, while retailers are sitting on higher priced inventory. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking."

The time to make fertilizer decisions is getting late. The 2009 crop cannot wait and no one knows if the weather will cooperate during planting. Whether it is corn, wheat, soybeans, or various other crops ... yield is determined early in the growing season and farmers don't want to leave any yield in the loss column because of cutting back on fertilizer.

"All of us need to remember that fertilizer is still a good investment. Each dollar spent on fertilizer can return up to two or three dollars or more in profit, depending on conditions. Farmers cannot afford to cut back on needed fertilizer nutrients, nor chance delaying their application. The current market fluctuations are unsettling and making everyone sharpen their pencils, but let's not forget some basic economics ... cutting back on fertilizer below optimum rates will not reduce the cost of seed, pesticides, fuel, rent, or taxes, but it will decrease yields and it will decrease profits," Dr. Roberts points out.

"At the end of the season, many sports teams can look back and analyze where they got off track. For farmers, we want them to look back and know they made the right decision at the start," he adds.

IPNI scientists are preparing information that may be useful to farmers facing the dilemma of fertilizer decisions this spring. For more information, visit the website at: >www.ipni.net/fertilizer2009<.


Ref. # 09048

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