OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices are mostly lower for the fourth week of March 2019, according to retailers tracked by DTN. This marks the fifth week in a row in which at least some prices were declining, and the first week in which a majority of prices were lower.
Six of the eight major fertilizers' prices were lower compared to last month, although the drop was fairly minor. DAP had an average price of $509/ton, MAP $534/ton, potash $385/ton, urea $401/ton, UAN28 $269/ton and UAN32 $318/ton.
Two fertilizers were higher compared to the prior month, but the increase was fairly slight. 10-34-0 had an average price of $470/ton and anhydrous $597/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.
Climbing fertilizer prices was the topic of the most recent Agricultural Economic Insights e-newsletter. In a post from March 25 titled "Higher Fertilizer Prices in 2019" author David Widmar looks at the implications for producers as they face a spring with higher fertilizer prices.
Using USDA's latest Illinois fertilizer price data, Widmar showed prices are significantly higher from the spring of 2018. Anhydrous ammonia is up more than $100/ton from last spring or 18% higher. Other sources of nitrogen are higher as well with urea up 10% and UAN28 up 20%.
DAP and potash were also higher. DAP was 7% more expensive while potash was 11% more expensive than spring 2018.
Widmar said while all fertilizer prices are higher, farmers should consider the price relationship for nitrogen sources.
Since 2010, a pound of nitrogen from urea has cost an average of 1.22 times the price of a pound of nitrogen from anhydrous. Currently, the price ratio is 1.15, which implies current urea prices are attractive.
"Also making urea more attractive is that the price ratio is lower than levels observed over the last 18 months," Widmar wrote. "Producers able to use alternative sources of nitrogen should consider urea in 2019."
Widmar said the higher prices have affected crop budgets. Using a fertilizer application rate of 180-70-70 with anhydrous as the nitrogen source, the fertilizer application rate in this example would have a cost of $119 per acre, up $14 from 2018.
This uptrend in retail fertilizer prices comes at a challenging financial time for many producers. Fertilizer is a large expense category that is going in an unfavorable direction for producers, he wrote.
"The latest price data makes us wonder how the USDA's early 2019 forecasts of net farm income will fare given the estimate of lower costs of production in 2019," he wrote.
All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. MAP is 5% more expensive, both DAP and urea are 8% higher, potash is 10% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 11% higher, UAN28 is 14% more expensive, UAN32 is 17% more expensive and anhydrous is now 18% higher 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.
|Mar 26-30 2018||470||506||350||370|
|Apr 23-27 2018||485||504||353||367|
|May 21-25 2018||483||504||354||364|
|Jun 18-22 2018||485||505||354||364|
|Jul 16-20 2018||486||505||354||366|
|Aug 13-17 2018||487||508||356||363|
|Sep 10-14 2018||491||518||362||380|
|Oct 8-12 2018||501||523||365||393|
|Nov 5-9 2018||506||529||368||407|
|Dec 3-7 2018||501||529||369||410|
|Dec 31-Jan 4 2019||508||533||381||407|
|Jan 28-Feb 1 2019||513||536||384||407|
|Feb 25-Mar 01 2019||511||535||386||404|
|Mar 25-29 2019||509||534||385||401|
|Mar 26-30 2018||425||507||237||272|
|Apr 23-27 2018||431||507||241||277|
|May 21-25 2018||439||504||241||276|
|Jun 18-22 2018||440||503||242||277|
|Jul 16-20 2018||442||503||243||279|
|Aug 13-17 2018||446||481||233||271|
|Sep 10-14 2018||449||487||238||278|
|Oct 8-12 2018||452||488||238||280|
|Nov 5-9 2018||458||517||245||287|
|Dec 3-7 2018||457||524||249||293|
|Dec 31-Jan 4 2019||460||571||267||304|
|Jan 28-Feb 1 2019||468||585||271||313|
|Feb 25-Mar 01 2019||470||596||270||318|
|Mar 25-29 2019||470||597||269||318|
Russ Quinn can be reached at email@example.com
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