Oct 25, 2021

Aprosoja Advises Brazil Farmers to Consider Reduced Fertilizer Use

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The president of the Soybean & Corn Producers Association of Mato Grosso (Aprosoja-MT) is advising farmers in the state to be cautious with their input purchases and not to feel pressured to purchase expensive inputs.

Fertilizer prices have more than doubled and he feels producers cannot afford these prices and still expect to make a profit growing crops. He recommends that producers employ agronomic consultants to carefully analyze the soil to judge the nutrient reserves in the soil. That way a producer could use less fertilizers or maybe even no fertilizer at all if there are enough nutrient reserves in the soil.

He is concerned about the high cost of all inputs, not just fertilizers. Machinery, fuel, and chemicals have all significantly increased in price. He is recommending that producers not incur additional debts purchasing discretionary items such as new machinery. Instead, utilize those resources to purchase necessities such as crop protection chemicals. He feels farmers should not purchase anything other than what is necessary in order to hold down costs.

He recommends producers consult Aprosoja-MT to access studies conducted by CTECNO (Lookalike Technology Center) where they analyzed the impact on farmer incomes by rationing fertilizer use or not using any fertilizers at all during times of crisis. CTECNO has years of research that suggest it is better to produce less and end the season with a profit instead of purchasing high-cost inputs only to lose money in the end.

Inputs for the 2021/22 soybean crop have basically all been purchased, so these recommendations are directed mainly toward the 2021/22 safrinha corn and cotton crops and the 2022/23 soybean crop.

Aprosoja's recommendations contrast with fertilizer giant Mosaic's vice president in Brazil who does not foresee a shortage of fertilizers and is recommending farmers order the fertilizers needed for their safrinha corn and safrinha cotton crops and their 2022/23 soybean crop as quickly as possible to assure their delivery. Approximately 40% of the fertilizers needed for the corn and cotton crops have not been purchased.

Brazil imports approximately 80% of its fertilizer needs and fertilizer deliveries in Brazil are expected to reach a record high of about 45 million metric tons this year. Fertilizer sales are slower than usual for the 2022/23 growing season as surging fertilizer prices have reduced grower's margins.