Sharply higher fertilizer costs are a big concern for crop producers, which could affect pork producers. In some instances, potash prices have doubled since last spring. Nitrogen prices also have gone up because of higher natural gas prices, the main ingredient in nitrogen fertilizer.

According to Robert Wisner, agricultural economist, IowaStateUniversity, a key question in the grain market is whether the high cost of fertilizer will cause Midwest producers to switch some corn land to soybeans. High costs may also cause some decrease in average application rates.

The higher fertilizer costs will increase the cost of production for crop producers. This could lead to higher feed costs for pork producers, especially if corn plantings decrease.

USDA will release it prospective plantings report on March 31 and that should provide a clearer picture on what’s happening in the grain market.

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