DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Retail Urea Prices Continue to Trend Higher

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Urea prices increased $16 from last month, jumping to $434/ton. That's 19% higher than at the same time last year, the largest price increase of e=the eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN. (DTN Chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail urea prices continue to trek higher, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the first week of June 2019.

Overall, prices of eight major fertilizers remained mixed, keeping with the general trend of the past several months.

Four fertilizers were higher compared to last month with none up a significant amount, which DTN considers to be a price move of 5% or more. Potash had an average price of $392/ton, up $1; urea $434/ton, up $16; UAN28 $271/ton, up $4; and UAN32 $314/ton, up $4.

Two fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month but, again, the move lower was fairly minor. Anhydrous and DAP prices both declined $4/ton to $591/ton and $497/ton respectively.

In addition, two fertilizers were unchanged from the previous month. MAP had an average price of $527/ton and 10-34-0 $487/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.47/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

With the wet spring this year in most of the Corn Belt, there is some question if the heavy rains over the past month has affected the amount of nitrogen fertilizer the corn crop needs this year. In a post titled "The 2019 Nitrogen Challenge" from the FarmdocDaily email newsletter, author Emerson Nafziger said it's complicated, both in terms of how much early-season applied nitrogen might be lost and how much plants need with lower yield potential lowering overall nitrogen needs.

There has been some on-farm nitrogen response research, and while some numbers show that higher rainfall during the spring is associated with the need for more nitrogen, the fact that the numbers in 2014 and 2018 don't follow this trend makes it less clear-cut, he wrote.

"For one thing, when it rains might be as important as how much it rains: April and May rainfall were at or below in 2014 and most other years (2017 was an exception), while June rainfall was well above normal in 2014, 2015 and, except in western Illinois, in 2018 -- all years with more responses to higher of nitrogen," Nafziger wrote.

When the nitrogen was applied is something else to consider in trying to pin down the nitrogen rate this year. It's probable some of the nitrogen applied last fall or early this spring has moved below the root zone and some of that is likely have left the field through titles. In some places where water has stood, some has also been lost to denitrification.

Nafziger wrote that the growing plant will often indicate soil nitrogen availability better than the amount of nitrogen in the soil. He suggests watching the crop to see when it begins to take on a better green color.

"I'll suggest here using this approach in fields recently planted, especially in fields where it's not clear if enough nitrogen remains to keep the crop green and growing well," he wrote. "A simple way to do this is to drop some urea alongside or on top of the row in a small area of the field, then to watch the crop there relative to the crop that doesn't have the extra nitrogen, to see if there is a difference in color."

Then look at the spots every few days to see if this corn turns greener than the rest. If it doesn't, then the crop is unlikely to be limited by the amount of nitrogen, Nafziger wrote.

The entire farmdocDaily report can be viewed here: https://farmdocdaily.illinois.edu/…

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher. DAP is 3% higher, MAP is 4% more expensive, both potash and 10-34-0 are all 11% higher, UAN28 is 12% more expensive; UAN32 is 14% higher, urea is 17% more expensive and urea is 19% 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.

DRY
Date Range DAP MAP POTASH UREA
Jun 4-8 2018 484 505 354 364
Jul 2-6 2018 485 504 354 366
Jul 30- Aug 3 2018 488 505 355 366
Aug 27-31 2018 487 513 357 365
Sep 24-28 2018 494 520 361 385
Oct 22-26 2018 499 518 366 406
Nov 19-23 2018 501 530 368 407
Dec 17-21 2018 508 532 377 407
Jan 14-18 2019 512 534 383 407
Feb 11-15 2019 512 537 385 405
Mar 11-15 2019 510 534 386 402
Apr 8-12 2019 505 532 387 404
May 6-10 2019 501 527 391 418
Jun 3-7, 2019 497 527 392 434
Liquid
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Jun 4-8 2018 440 503 241 276
Jul 2-6 2018 443 505 242 279
Jul 30- Aug 3 2018 443 498 242 279
Aug 27-31 2018 446 480 233 271
Sep 24-28 2018 449 493 236 278
Oct 22-26 2018 457 499 243 284
Nov 19-23 2018 457 520 246 287
Dec 17-21 2018 457 565 265 304
Jan 14-18 2019 462 580 270 305
Feb 11-15 2019 470 596 271 318
Mar 11-15 2019 469 596 269 318
Apr 8-12 2019 481 592 271 317
May 6-10 2019 487 595 267 310
Jun 3-7, 2019 487 591 271 314

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

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(KD/ES)

Russ Quinn