Brazil is experiencing a severe dry spell, causing a delay in farmers purchasing fertilizers for their corn planting. This delay is affecting sales for major fertilizer suppliers worldwide. The executives from companies like Nutrien, Mosaic, and Yara shared concerns with Reuters about the impact on fertilizer sales due to Brazil’s soybean harvest being delayed. As a result, this could push back the planting of the main corn season, which typically follows soon after. Corn, being a crop that requires a lot of fertilizer, is facing decreased demand because of the drought.

The Brazilian drought, related to El Niño, reveals the uncertainty in global agriculture amid climate change, causing lower profits for fertilizer firms due to falling crop and fertilizer prices after the Russia-Ukraine war. Potential delays in planting corn might lead Brazilian farmers to sow less, reducing fertilizer demand. Mosaic, a U.S. fertilizer producer, expects a notable drop in Brazil’s second corn harvest (“safrinha”), potentially lowering potash fertilizer demand by 4%, or 500,000 tons, valued at roughly $160 million based on current rates. Guilherme Schmitz from Yara’s Brazil division reported that by early December, farmers in major corn-producing regions had only bought 60% of their usual fertilizer supplies, notably lower than the typical 80% at this time. This decrease in purchases might lead to a significant drop in Brazil’s corn output, which generally contributes around 75% to the country’s total corn production. The impact might extend to global corn prices and could prompt U.S. farmers to consider increasing fertilizer purchases for next year’s corn production, even though early predictions indicate a leaning towards planting soybeans due to their lower fertilizer needs.