DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Urea Prices Spike 5% Higher Amid Transportation Trouble

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Retail urea prices jumped $22 this week to $426 per ton, a 5% increase over last month. Prices are 16% higher than at the same time last year. (DTN Chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices continued to be fairly steady the second week of May 2019, although one spiked higher, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Like the last two weeks, prices for four of the eight major fertilizers were higher, while the other four were lower than last month. But, unlike the last few weeks, one fertilizer was considerably higher.

Urea was 5% more expensive compared to the second week of April, up $22 per ton with an average price of $426/ton. This marks the first time since the second week of February a fertilizer has seen a significant price move, which DTN considers 5% or more.

The remaining three fertilizers with higher prices saw more marginal increases. Potash had an average price $392/ton, up $4; 10-34-0 $487/ton, up $6; and anhydrous $595/ton, up $1.

The remaining four fertilizers were slightly lower looking back to the prior month. DAP had an average price of $498/ton, $6 lower; MAP $526/ton, down $5; UAN28 $267/ton, $3 lower; and UAN32 $311/ton, down $6.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.46/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

A potential reason why urea prices are shifting higher is the historic flooding along the Mississippi River has caused barge traffic to grind to a halt, according to an Associated Press article.

Farmers in more than a dozen states in the Mississippi River Basin normally would be sending soybeans, corn and other grains down the river to the Gulf of Mexico where they could be exported. Meanwhile, shipments of fertilizer that normally travel up the river to communities from St. Louis, Missouri, to St. Paul, Minnesota, haven't made it through because of the flooding.

Many of the locks and dams on the Mississippi that closed due to flooding beginning back in March have reopened. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn't expect the river to be fully unimpeded until possibly June.

Even if the locks were open, "Many of these barges wouldn't be able to get here anyway," Sam Heilig, a Corps spokesperson at Rock Island, Illinois, said in the AP article. "Because the water's so high, there's not enough clearance to get under some of the bridges."

The Mississippi River flooding also affects the other rivers that flow into it. The Missouri River has remained mostly navigable right up until it meets the Mississippi River at St. Louis. This has disrupted shipments from farmers in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri trying to get their grain down and fertilizer up the river.

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. DAP is 3% higher; MAP is 4% more expensive; potash, 10-34-0 and UAN28 are all 11% higher; UAN32 is 13% more expensive; urea is 16% higher and anhydrous is 17% 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.

DRY
Date Range DAP MAP POTASH UREA
May 14-18 2018 483 505 354 368
Jun 11-15 2018 484 505 354 364
Jul 9-13 2018 485 504 354 366
Aug 6-10 2018 487 507 356 363
Sep 3-7 2018 488 514 358 366
Oct 1-5 2018 501 523 364 389
Oct 29-Nov 2 2018 506 528 366 408
Nov 26-30 2018 501 530 369 409
Dec 24-28 2018 507 533 379 407
Jan 21-25 2019 512 535 383 409
Feb 18-22 2019 512 536 385 404
Mar 18-22 2019 509 533 386 401
Apr 15-19 2019 504 531 388 404
May 13-17 2019 498 526 392 426
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
May 14-18 2018 439 510 241 276
Jun 11-15 2018 440 503 241 277
Jul 9-13 2018 443 505 242 279
Aug 6-10 2018 445 482 233 271
Sep 3-7 2018 446 480 232 271
Oct 1-5 2018 451 488 237 279
Oct 29-Nov 2 2018 457 505 245 285
Nov 26-30 2018 457 519 246 287
Dec 24-28 2018 457 568 266 303
Jan 21-25 2019 467 584 270 313
Feb 18-22 2019 470 596 271 317
Mar 18-22 2019 470 597 270 318
Apr 15-19 2019 481 594 270 317
May 13-17 2019 487 595 267 311

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

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

(KD/AG)

Russ Quinn