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Fertilizer Price Shock Threatens Crop of World's Key Corn Supplier

  • Farmers may cut nutrients amid soaring prices, supply snags
  • Fertilizer surge may limit corn yields, fueling food inflation
Corn is loaded into a grain storage bag during a harvest at a farm in Correntina, Bahia state, Brazil, on Sept. 20.
Corn is loaded into a grain storage bag during a harvest at a farm in Correntina, Bahia state, Brazil, on Sept. 20.Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg

Brazilian farmer Antonio Carlos Jacobsen usually buys fertilizer a few weeks before planting his corn fields. Soaring fertilizer prices are pushing him to move up purchases for the March seeding -- although it may already be too late.

“We were caught by surprise with these skyrocketing prices,” said the 64-year-old grower who planned to seed 1.2 million hectares on his farmland in the northeastern state of Bahia. “Even worse, there is uncertainty whether this fertilizer will be delivered on time,” he said in an interview.