DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizers' Prices Still a Tad Higher

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N. (DTN Chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices continue to be mostly higher, albeit marginally, according to prices tracked by DTN for the first week of July 2018.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, but none were up a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $485/ton, potash $354/ton, urea $366/ton, 10-34-0 $443/ton, anhydrous $505/ton, UAN28 $242/ton and UAN32 $279/ton.

One fertilizer, MAP, was unchanged from the month prior. The phosphorus fertilizer had an average price of $504/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

Historically, it's about the time retail fertilizer prices begin to drop since most of the season's applications are complete. This year is bucking that seasonal trend, as prices remain steady to slightly higher.

Clarke McGrath, Iowa State University Extension On-Farm Research and Extension coordinator for the Iowa Soybean Research Center, told DTN those expecting a drop in retail fertilizer prices this summer may be in for an unpleasant surprise. The chances of lower fertilizer prices appear to be fairly slim, he said.

"Prices are not dropping," said McGrath, who is a former fertilizer retailer and agronomist. "There have been some production hiccups here and there, which might explain why prices are not falling, along with no large increases in overall (fertilizer) production."

McGrath said there are two other reasons why farmers may not see lower fertilizer prices this summer and into the fall: the corn market and trucking concerns.

While corn prices have moved lower in recent weeks, the market trend has been mostly sideways. He said if you following the theory that the fertilizer market moves with the corn market, steady corn prices have perhaps lulled fertilizer prices into a sleepy pattern as well.

The trucking industry could also be indirectly preventing fertilizer prices from making their seasonal decline, he said. Changing rules and regulations in the trucking industry have complicated the logistics of shipping fertilizer.

"These changes are reducing productivity for trucking firms," he said.

Earlier this spring, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed a temporary waiver of the hours of service restriction for commercial drivers as Northern Plains farmers scrambled to apply fertilizer after winter weather hung around well into May. Truckers have also had several issues with the new electric logging device rules, Burgum said.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. 10-34-0 is 2% higher, UAN28% is 3% more expensive, UAN32 is up 4%, potash gained 5%, MAP is 8% higher, anhydrous is 9% more expensive, DAP is 11% higher and urea is 12% more expensive compared to last year.

DTN collects roughly 1,700 retail fertilizer bids from 310 retailer locations weekly. Not all fertilizer prices change each week. Prices are subject to change at any time.

DTN Pro Grains subscribers can find current retail fertilizer price in the DTN Fertilizer Index on the Fertilizer page under Farm Business.

Retail fertilizer charts dating back to 2010 are available in the DTN fertilizer segment. The charts included cost of N/lb., DAP, MAP, potash, urea, 10-34-0, anhydrous, UAN28 and UAN32.

DTN's average of retail fertilizer prices from a month earlier ($ per ton):

DRY
Date Range DAP MAP POTASH UREA
Jul 3-7 2017 436 467 339 325
Jul 31-Aug 4 2017 434 463 339 311
Aug 28-Sept 1 2017 433 457 338 303
Sep 15-29 2017 432 453 348 321
Oct 23-27 2017 431 453 347 325
Nov 20-24 2017 435 460 342 338
Dec 18-22 2017 445 485 344 348
Jan 15-19 2018 456 491 345 355
Feb 12-16 2018 457 495 345 357
Mar 12-16 2018 466 503 350 368
Apr 9-13 2018 482 504 353 369
May 7-11 2018 483 505 354 366
Jun 4-8 2018 484 505 354 364
Jul 2-6 2018 485 504 354 366
Liquid
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Jul 3-7 2017 432 462 236 268
Jul 31-Aug 4 2017 426 418 227 262
Aug 28-Sept 1 2017 418 417 215 248
Sep 15-29 2017 413 396 208 243
Oct 23-27 2017 407 393 205 262
Nov 20-24 2017 403 410 216 272
Dec 18-22 2017 405 461 218 254
Jan 15-19 2018 407 485 226 260
Feb 12-16 2018 415 492 230 264
Mar 12-16 2018 421 503 237 282
Apr 9-13 2018 427 510 241 275
May 7-11 2018 431 512 241 276
Jun 4-8 2018 440 503 241 276
Jul 2-6 2018 443 505 242 279

Russ Quinn can be reached at russ.quinn@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

(KD/BAS)

Russ Quinn