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North Dakota farmers planting despite fertilizer shortage

May 17, 2018

In this Tuesday, May 15, 2018 photo, an anhydrous ammonia tank sits next to seeding equipment in a field near Minot, N.D. A run on fertilizer supplies this spring created shortages that inconvenienced many farmers. (Jill Schramm /Minot Daily News via AP)

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Significant headway with spring planting is helping ease a fertilizer shortage that has inconvenienced North Dakota farmers, according to local fertilizer dealers.

Agricultural fertilizer suppliers have had difficulty this year keeping up with a demand for anhydrous ammonia, a nitrogen fertilizer compressed into a clear liquid, the Minot Daily News reported . The late spring has led to farmers from multiple states planting at the same time, overwhelming truckers transporting the fertilizer, said Darrell Schieve, plant manager at Dakota Agronomy in Minot.

Schieve said the run on anhydrous ammonia has slowed as spring seeding progresses. Barring rain, local seeding should be far enough along to relieve the pressure on supplies by week’s end, he said.

Gov. Doug Burgum signed a temporary order about a week ago easing restrictions on truckers to help with fertilizer deliveries. Commercial drivers can work without a break as they try to move produce in a shorter time frame. The order will remain in place through May 30.

Some farmers responded to delays in getting the fertilizer by switching to soybeans, which don’t use the same fertilizer requirements as some other cash crops. Some producers went ahead and seeded, with plans to add the fertilizer later, said Paige Brummond, Ward County Extension agent. Other farmers switched from liquid fertilizer to granular, which is more accessible.

Jeff Krueger, who farms near Max, said he hasn’t experienced the fertilizer shortage this spring because he was able to apply anhydrous ammonia during fall tillage. “But I know of some other farmers in this area who had to shut the drill down for a certain period,” he said.

Krueger finished more than 60 percent of seeding early this week. He said soil conditions have been dry, but a forecast this week of rain raises his optimism.


Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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