OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices showed mixed moves again the fourth week of January 2017, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. However, some fertilizers are showing significant price increases for the first time this winter.
Six of the eight major fertilizers were higher, though only two were higher by any substantial amount. UAN28 was 8% higher compared to a month earlier while UAN32 was 5% more expensive. UAN28 had an average price of $235 per ton while UAN32 was at $268/ton.
Four fertilizers were slightly higher priced, but not by a significant amount. MAP had an average price of $443/ton, potash $322/ton, urea $347/ton and anhydrous $480/ton.
Two fertilizers were slightly lower, but again, these moves to the low side were not that noteworthy. DAP had an average price of $429/ton and 10-34-0 $436/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.38/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.42/lb.N.
Seeing nitrogen fertilizer prices strengthening at this time of year should not be that surprising with demand increasing as the spring application season approaches. The degree to which the nutrients will rise this winter/spring will be worth watching closely.
Clarke McGrath, Iowa State University Extension on-farm research coordinator for the Iowa Soybean Research Center and agronomist in southwestern Iowa, told DTN he was concerned about what nitrogen prices could do in the coming months because of what happened -- or, more specifically, what didn't happen much -- last fall.
"We saw a poor fall application season last fall here with maybe half to two-thirds of the usual fall nitrogen application," McGrath said. "This could put pressure on those different forms of nitrogen this winter, and this market could be susceptible to market swings."
McGrath, who spent several years in the fertilizer retailer business, said he is most worried about what could happen this spring, both with logistics and prices, with little nitrogen applied in the fall in his region.
A "normal" spring application season with increased nitrogen application could lead to issues with supply and could cause price spikes. If we see a wet spring and farmers have to switch away from anhydrous to liquid or dry forms, the demand increases in the different forms of nitrogen could cause all forms to increase in price, he said.
While there is some concern about nitrogen prices, price outlooks for the other two major fertilizers appear to be fairly stable as the spring planting season slowly inches closer. Both phosphorus (P) and potash (K) prices appear to be fairly stable at present, and this trend could stay in place through the spring, he said.
"I think retailers saw the writing on the wall and loaded up on P and K, and we also did get some applied (in the fall), so I don't think we will see P and K prices move much in the coming months," he said.
Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers but one are now double digits lower.
The one fertilizer no longer down double digits is urea, which is now down 9%. Both DAP and UAN28 are now 13% less expensive while MAP is 14% lower. Both anhydrous and UAN32 are 16% lower, potash is 18% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 24% lower compared to a year prior.
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):
|Jan 25-29 2016||495||515||391||380|
|Feb 22-26 2016||477||492||373||371|
|Mar 21-25 2016||475||501||371||390|
|Apr 18-22 2016||477||502||366||388|
|May 16-20 2016||476||501||365||384|
|June 13-17 2016||469||496||359||367|
|July 11-15 2016||467||496||358||360|
|Aug 8-12 2016||453||482||344||345|
|Sept 5-9 2016||446||464||325||325|
|Oct 3-7 2016||438||451||312||315|
|Oct 31-Nov 4 2016||436||451||314||319|
|Nov 28-Dec 2 2016||435||445||318||331|
|Dec 26-30 2016||431||443||321||336|
|Jan 23-27 2017||429||443||322||347|
|Jan 25-29 2016||571||569||271||317|
|Feb 22-26 2016||566||536||260||309|
|Mar 21-25 2016||561||569||276||312|
|Apr 18-22 2016||561||588||274||322|
|May 16-20 2016||558||588||274||321|
|June 13-17 2016||555||566||266||305|
|July 11-15 2016||538||547||266||306|
|Aug 8-12 2016||528||522||249||299|
|Sept 5-9 2016||478||502||228||274|
|Oct 3-7 2016||454||472||224||263|
|Oct 31-Nov 4 2016||452||471||244||262|
|Nov 28-Dec 2 2016||447||465||217||256|
|Dec 26-30 2016||437||466||217||254|
|Jan 23-27 2017||436||480||235||268|
Russ Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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