According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, according to data from the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the total of fertilizer carloads originated by Class I railroads for the week ending May 6, 2023, was 6,550—an all-time high since STB began collecting the data in March 2017.

For the first 12 weeks of 2023, fertilizer carloads were 2 percent fewer than the prior 5-year average (Grain Transportation Report (GTR), April 20, 2023).

However, in the weeks since then (weeks 13 through 19), fertilizer carloads have risen, and are now 3 percent above the 5-year average.

The rise in fertilizer carloads comes amid lower fertilizer prices than last year, higher corn plantings than last year, and restricted upbound barge traffic on the Mississippi River due to flooding (see first highlight).