Perhaps there are areas where farmers aren't applying as much fertilizer because they had a bad year. If there are situations like this, we haven't found them yet. Instead, one fertilizer dealer, wishing to stay anonymous, in northeastern Indiana says that fertilizer sales are strong. Supplying a large area in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio, his dealership has kept busy spreading fertilizer since the fall has been so open and the weather has remained dry enough and suitable for spreading.
Some theorized that due to poor yields, farmers would cut back on the amount of fertilizer they would buy. However, several factors appear to be working toward farmers deciding to stay the course and continue on their normal fertilizer program.
First, many farmers, even those with low yields, will still have a profitable year once crop insurance is factored in. Second, even if corn yields were low, soybean yields rebounded in many areas and were average to above average, boosting gross income. Third, fertilizer is available and the prices seem to be holding steady, not increasing dramatically as once was predicted.
The last reason is simply that farmers want to maintain their normal rotation, the dealer says. Even though corn yields were low, soybean yields weren't in most cases. Some farmers apply fertilizer after soybeans for crops for the next two years. If beans produced as normal, then they figure that next year's corn will need the same amount of fertilizer as in any other year.
If there is any cutting back in his area, this dealer says it may happen a year from now depending upon economic conditions at the time.
Piles of fertilizer, lime and other soil amendments noticed sitting in fields waiting to be spread across the state, not just in northeast Indiana, seem to back up the dealer's theory that farmers are going to stay the course and invest in fertilizer despite a poor crop year. Fertilizer spreading was the order of the day during a recent visit to a farm in southern Indiana. Fields that were being spread were relatively level and not subject to excessive loss during the winter.