OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices continued to rise the fourth week of February 2017, albeit at a slower rate than in recent weeks, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. This is the fifth-consecutive week prices have moved higher.
All eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier, marking the first time in several months that all price moves were to the higher side. While all fertilizers were higher, none of the eight were up any significant amount.
DAP had an average price of $433 per ton, MAP $452/ton, potash $332/ton and urea $359/ton. 10-34-0 had an average price of $440/ton, anhydrous $490/ton, UAN28 $241/ton and UAN32 $276/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.
As retail fertilizer prices rise, it puts more pressure on farmers' crop budgets, making it more difficult to stay in the black with lower commodity prices. Some farmers have decided to cut back on inputs, while others have invested in newer technologies to make their operations more efficient.
One farmer who has invested in newer technology is Maria Cox, who farms with her father, Ethan, near White Hall, Illinois. This is the first year they have used variable rate technology (VRT) on the dry fertilizer applied to their fields. Dry fertilizer is usually applied in the fall, but they waited until this spring to apply so new soil tests could be done and yield removal information from the combine could be analyzed.
"We might be a little behind on the VRT fertilizer trend, but I can see that we will be doing this from now on," Cox told DTN. "We didn't price shop for fertilizer this spring, but we are going to save big on inputs."
Cox said, instead of a blanket dry fertilizer application, the fertilizer will only go on spots in their fields that really need nutrients. Soil tests have also changed as she moved to smaller grid samples, which she said was needed to find out what levels of fertilizer were in their soil.
The move to precision fertilizer application did come with some additional costs, as it is a few dollars per acre more expensive for VRT applications. On the other hand, Cox said they are saving money by not having the mixing costs associated with a broadcast application of fertilizer.
"We do have to pay for more precise soil tests and VRT, but we think the benefits outweigh the costs," she said.
Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Only three of the eight major fertilizer are double digits lower.
10-34-0 is 22% lower from a year ago while both potash and UAN32 are 11% less expensive. Both DAP and anhydrous are 9% less expensive, MAP is 8% lower, UAN28 is 7% less expensive and urea is 3% compared to year earlier.
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):
|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|
|Feb 20-24 2017||433||452||332||359|
|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|
|Feb 20-24 2017||440||490||241||276|
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