Fertilizer Spending by State

Nine States Spent More Than $1 Billion on Fertilizer in 2020

Katie Micik Dehlinger
By  Katie Micik Dehlinger , Farm Business Editor
Nine states spent more than $1 billion on fertilizer in 2020, according to USDA data. (DTN graphic)

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (DTN) -- In 2020, corn growers with high-productivity ground in central Illinois spent about $143 per acre on fertilizer, according to crop budgets from the University of Illinois. Forecasts for 2022 climbed to $230 per acre.

But actual expenditures could be higher. When the Farmdoc team made their estimates in December, they argued that many farmers booked their needs before anhydrous prices topped $1,000 per ton. They also estimated farmers would likely reduce application rates to control costs and factored in the chance prices could come down by planting season.

But with drought in South America and the war in Ukraine pushing the National Corn Index, a measure of spot cash prices at grain elevators, to more than $7 per bushel and December corn futures to more than $6.25 per bushels, farmers will be motivated to grow as many bushels as possible.

Global supply issues have also continued to push the price of fertilizers higher. According to DTN's weekly survey of fertilizer retailers, the average retail price of anhydrous ammonia for the second week of March 2022 was $1,490 per ton. Two years ago, farmers paid an average of $490 per ton. You can read more here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

USDA collects survey data on how much money farmers spend on fertilizer each year, aggregated to the state level. USDA is currently surveying farmers on their 2021 expenses, so the most recent data available is for 2020. It found that U.S. farmers spent $24.4 billion on fertilizer, lime and soil conditioner, about $1.1 million more than the previous year.

Given the state of current retail prices, it's fair to assume the amount farmers spend on fertilizer in 2022 will skyrocket. But, historically, the states that spend the most on fertilizer haven't changed very much. In fact, the five states that spend the most on fertilizer have been in the same order for the past five years.

Nine states spent $1 billion or more on fertilizer in 2020 and could face much steeper bills when 2022's expenses are tallied. They are:

1) CALIFORNIA, $2.17 billion

2) IOWA, $2.08 billion

3) ILLINOIS, $2.07 billion

4) MINNESOTA, 1.45 billion

5) NEBRASKA, 1.38 billion

6) TEXAS, $1.12 billion

7) INDIANA, $1.05 billion

8) KANSAS, $1.04 billion

9) MISSOURI, $1 billion

Katie Dehlinger can be reached at katie.dehlinger@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter at @KatieD_DTN

Katie Dehlinger