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Corn Is Out, Soy Is In on U.S. Farms Rocked by Soaring Costs

  • Inflation, fuel and now fertilizer threaten global food prices
  • Corn needs a lot more nitrogen fertilizer than soybeans do
Soybeans during harvest on a farm in Fairfield County, Ohio.
Soybeans during harvest on a farm in Fairfield County, Ohio.Photographer: Ty Wright/Bloomberg

Two crops dominate U.S. farming: corn and soybeans. The former requires massive amounts of fertilizer. The latter requires very little.

Which is why the astronomical surge in fertilizer prices -- they’re up some 27% this year and 130% over the past year -- is causing farmers to quickly re-calibrate the amount of each crop they put in the ground this spring. They’ll dedicate about 2 million more acres this year to soy, a Bloomberg survey finds, and about 2 million fewer to corn.