Making Optimal Use of Fertilizer When There’s a Global Shortage

Skyrocketing Prices

Fertilizer prices spiked in late 2021, ahead of the planting season. In 2022, prices hit a record high. Unfortunately, increased cost and global supply shortages are going to persist through 2023, according to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. 

For farmers and growers, making sure fertilizer and chemicals are used precisely and efficiently is more important than ever.  

With the prices 2x-3x higher than previous years, it is absolutely critical to make sure as much product is getting into the plant as possible. Dry spread fertilizer can take longer before it’s able to be absorbed by roots. 

Additionally, there’s a risk of total dry fertilizer loss when it’s mass-applied to crops early in the season; severe spring storms can wash away an entire year’s worth of fertilizer before it’s had the chance to be absorbed. 

Through fertigation and chemigation, producers can expect around 10% input loss through leaching, as opposed to 40-55% through other methods. 



Global Shortage

The current shortage comes from the aftermath of pandemic-related supply chain issues, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and worldwide inflation. 

Even though the FAO and World Trade Organization (WTO) have offered strong recommendations to G20 governments to help avoid a food crisis, the logistics of mobilizing international financial support to prevent a crisis are daunting. 

Even with the WTO and FAO’s suggestions, large-scale commercial growers have more than just the cost/scarcity of fertilizer to contend with, and finding ways to apply inputs precisely and use water more effectively are going to drive much of the decision-making process across the globe. 



Farm Irrigation Equipment Dealers: Injection on the Rise

Farmers who are already using injection for their fertilizer and chemicals are looking for ways to make the process more precise; growers who usually rely on dry fertilizer are being forced to find other ways to compensate for the price spike. 

Dale Becker, a dealer with Wilbur-Ellis in Monte Vista, Colorado, says that he’s spoken with farmers who haven’t injected before, but are looking into it this year for the cost savings. 

Tom Hershey, a dealer from Poole Chemical in Texline, Texas, says that farmers are thinking more about injection right now because it’s superior to dry fertilizer. 

Edgar Glaven, a dealer from Western Blend Tanks in Donna Anna, New Mexico, says that even the cost of liquid fertilizer has gone up (though not as much as dry). Because of this, he says that more growers are looking to injection because it works better and is much more efficient. 

Rod Long, a dealer with Hellena in Pearsall, Texas, says that they’re paying double over what they were a year ago for fertilizer. Because of this, more farmers are looking to injection because it saves them money over ground rigs.



Making the Fertigation Process Precise and Efficient

Plants don’t eat, they drink. Applying dry fertilizer indiscriminately over a field is not the most efficient way to get food to the plants. When costs are so high, making sure that almost every drop of fertilizer is actually used by the plant is critical for yields. Utilizing existing irrigation to inject product through a repeatable, adjustable and accurate process is the key to making the most of your fertilizer and chemicals. Fertigation also results in up to 45% less input loss through leaching. 

Agri-Inject products make the fertigation process easier and help get the exact right amount of product to the plant at the exact right time with almost no wasted product. The technology allows farmers to get uniform coverage across any kind of crop field with no skipped rows or hot spots. 

In mid-season, fertigation is optimal to ensure that inputs are effectively utilized and reach the root through the field canopy. Gary and Kyle Kroenke from Dodge County, Nebraska, use an Agri-Inject Reflex system to ensure they can apply the exact right amount of product at the exact right time:

“We’re not just putting on ten gallons per acre on the whole field. We’re getting the right amount of fertilizer per acre with the Agri-Inject Reflex machine. We’re getting a very healthy crop that’s getting the right amount of nutrients, at the right time. And we’re able to do it when we want to.” 

Locate a dealer for you, or contact us for more information — we can help you get just about any kind of product onto just about any kind of field with an almost limitless combination of equipment configurations.