Fertilizer purchases will need to be scrutinized even closer this year thanks to recent price hikes that have pushed the cost of anhydrous ammonia to new highs, according to the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Illinois Farm Bureau senior economist Mike Doherty says the cost of anhydrous ammonia already had increased by an estimated 25 percent this year, and that was prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Now with the disruption of natural gas extraction and processing in the Gulf of Mexico due to hurricane damage, anhydrous ammonia prices are pushing $450 to $500-plus per ton across the Midwest, according to a fertilizer industry representative. Prior to 2005, the largest spring price quote for anhydrous ammonia (dating back to 1960) was $399 per ton in April 2001, USDA reported.

Dealer & Applicator magazine

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