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By Jud Pyle, CFA, chief investment strategist for the

Options News Network

Looking at

Potash

(POT)

, the March 80 puts have traded more than 15,000 times in the first 2 1/2 hours of trading this morning. The puts are currently trading for a price of $5.40 with the stock around $88.41. The open interest on these options prior to today's activity was 3,308, according to the Sidewinder report at www.ONN.tv.

What is interesting about these puts is that they have traded mostly on the buy side, meaning there are more buyers than sellers. One possible reason for the buying of downside protection is because of

the rally the shares have enjoyed

.

In the last two weeks alone, the shares have rallied more than 25% from below $70 to over $88 today.

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Aside from today's activity, it is noteworthy that last week there was other big volume in POT puts. On Feb. 5, more than 20,000 of the June 50 puts were purchased; on Friday, more than 17,000 of the June 65 puts were bought.

It is not just POT that is seeing put-buying today, either. In

Mosaic

(MOS) - Get Report

, more than 3,000 of the September 30 puts have been purchased vs. open interest of just 137. With the stock trading at $45, these puts are more analogous to the 50 and 65 puts from last week in POT, which were a similar amount out of the money.

The presence of put-buyers such as this does not mean people should run out and sell their shares. But it is noteworthy that at least one investor is buying downside protection after the rallies the fertilizer stocks have experienced.

Editor's note: Jud Pyle will be on Stockpickr Answers tomorrow to respond to questions posed by members of the Stockpickr community. Not a member? Join the Stockpickr community today - for free.

Jud Pyle is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network (www.ONN.tv) and the portfolio manager of TheStreet.com Options Alerts. Click here for a free trial for Options Alerts. Mr. Pyle writes regularly about options investing for TheStreet.com.

Jud Pyle, CFA, is the chief investment strategist for Options News Network. Pyle started his career in finance in 1994 as a derivative analyst with SBC Warburg. After four years with Warburg, Pyle joined PEAK6 Investments, L.P., in 1998 as an equity options trader and as chief risk officer. A native of Minneapolis, Pyle received his bachelor's degree in economics and history from Colgate University in 1994. As a trader, Pyle traded on average over 5,000 contracts per day, and over 1.2 million contracts per year. He also built the stock group for all PEAK6 Investments, L.P. hedging, which currently trades on average over 5 million shares per day, and over 1 billion shares per year. Further, from 2004-06, he managed the trading and risk management for PEAK6 Investments L.P.'s lead market-maker operation on the former PCX exchange, which traded more than 10,000 contracts per day. Pyle is the "Mad About Options" resident expert. He is also a regular contributor to "Options Physics."