A number of factors are impacting the volatility in the fertilizer market.
Josh Linville, the Director of Fertilizer with StoneX Financial says a lot of what's happening with fertilizer prices is based on the global situation and is being government driven right now.
"When you look at the phosphate market our main focus right now globally is China. Will the government allow exports or not? Nitrogen in my point of view, it's about European natural gas. It is costing them $1,000 U.S. to produce one ton of urea today with where natural gas is. We don't even know if they'll have enough gas to produce. We lose that production, we lose a major amount of global supply, and we grow demand to replace those tons."
Linville has 20 years experience in the fertilizer industry and says given what's happening internationally and its potential impact producers may want to look at hedging their options.
"I'm talking about hedging from the standpoint of if you're buying fertilizer, sell some grain. If you're selling some grain, buy some diesel fuel. It's both sides of the equation. My biggest fear for the farmers across North America is that we buy fertilizer, and the price of grain drops by half, or that we sell grain and all of a sudden the price of fertilizer doubles again. We want to make sure, this is a year of so much volatility. We want to be hitting singles, we want to bunt for base. You know, if your worst decision on a layer of your farm is profitable. That's a good year, we live to fight another day."
He notes some of the things farmers should be monitoring, the war in Russia and its ability to export natural gas to Europe? Will China resume phosphate exports? And will Lithuania allow Belarus to export potash through their region?
Belarus is landlocked and uses a port in Lithuania to export its potash from the state-owned producer which is one of the largest potash producers in the world.
He says farmers should focus on educating themselves and monitoring what's happening globally and it's impact for the fertilizer market.
Linville was one of the keynote speakers during Ag in Motion.