Saskatchewan farmers experienced their most expensive crop and livestock production cost in 2021.
The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) stated there was an $11.5 billion dollar higher production cost compared with the year before.
“We heard about shortages of fertilizer this fall and pesticides throughout the summer. The lack of availability and price volatility in these markets has created a lot of uncertainty that we don’t want to experience again in 2023,” APAS President Ian Boxall said.
APAS representatives expressed concerns over critical farm inputs which are fuel, fertilizers, chemicals and seeds.
In 2021, $2.67 billion was spent on fertilizers; this is just 24% of the cash operating cost of Saskatchewan farmers and it exceeded last year’s purchase of fertilizers by 30%. The cost of other components has also increased such as glyphosate by 62%, fuel by 52%, urea by 112% (since 2019) and anhydrous ammonia is up by 113%.
“These inputs are critical for food production at a time when the world needs Saskatchewan’s agricultural products. We know that inflation and the cost of living are major concerns right now for everyone. At the same time, costs are especially volatile for essential farm inputs which make up a huge portion of farm costs. The lack of transparency on what’s causing these price spikes is very concerning and requires further investigation,” Boxall stated.
Western Canada produces large amounts of nitrogen-based fertilizers and farmers are concerned when the retail prices are marginal with international freight in Saskatchewan.
Studying retail food pricing will be scheduled by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and will be continued into 2023. Boxall noted that APAS would like to focus on some of the factors which are driving costs upwards for fuel, fertilizers and other critical farm inputs.