Fertilizer shortages are leading to massive price hikes; here's how it could impact you

Posted at 5:42 AM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 07:07:53-04

(WXYZ) — As we move fully into spring, the high price of fertilizer is impacting everyone from home gardeners to landscapers and farmers.

Prices have more than doubled in the last two years, and it's making it difficult for businesses and farms to keep their prices down.

From supply chain issues to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there are many reasons the cost of fertilizer is going up.

In Macomb County, Kogelmann's Sod Farm has been around since the 1950s. We visited the farm on a snowy spring morning to see how the fertilizer price increases are impact thing.

Jeff Kogelmann is a third-generation farmer, and farming is in his blood. He said in this day and age, everything is being impacted.

"Everything is increasing. Not just the fertilizer. It's the labor shortage. it's how much do you pay for help if you find it?" Kogelmann said.

He operates and farms nearly 600 acres of sod farm, and that's a ton of fertilizer. He said there isn't a shortage, but prices have gone up.

His first load of fertilizer last year was $11,000. Two years ago, it was half that.

"Right now I have been told there hasn't been a fertilizer issue. Our costs have doubled and our prices have gone up to compensate for that," he said.

Theresa Sisung, an industry specialist with the Michigan Farm Bureau Insurance, said there are a lot of factors in the price increases.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in just one year, the price of anhydrous ammonia is up 235%, nitrogen fertilizer urea is up 149% and liquid nitrogen is up 192%.

"These price increases aren't new unfortunately to farmers. We've really seen prices increase since pre-pandemic, or early on in the pandemic is when we started to see a rise," Sisung said. "So farmers are expecting a significant increase in costs this year because they need that fertilizer to plant those crops."

For a landscape company like Three C's in metro Detroit, the cost is having a major impact.

"It definitely has caused us to look a little closer on exactly what choice we are making on every bit of fertilizer when we're going to buy it, how are we going to buy it, where we are going to buy it," Ben Chargot, the director of Three C's Landscaping, said.

As the price increases, companies are needing to put a little bit of the cost on the consumer.

"We perform it as a service. lawn fertilization as a service. So fertilizer is one component as is the weed control and the labor. So one portion of it did go up quite a bit. In terms of a whole for most people with an averaged size lawn, it didn't make a huge impact on their lawn services as a whole, but we did see increases across the board," Chargot said.