Soil tests also may play a role. Growers may drop back to applying the minimum amount of fertilizer to prevent yield loss. Another option is to maintain soil fertility at the optimal level.

Kenkel said growers may consider applying less than recommended fertility rates if:

• Fertilizer to commodity price is out of sync.

• Land tenure is uncertain.

• The fertilizer supply chain is disrupted.

Crop rotation also may help growers manage fertilizer rates.

“Overall, fertilizer prices are likely to remain volatile,” Kenkel said. “But the global supply works well when supply and demand are in balance.”

In the past producers have not been too concerned about fertilizer price risk. But in a more volatile market, a systematic purchasing strategy and flexibility with timing and product may help farmers manage the risk.