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DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Nitrogen, Phosphate Fertilizers Lead Retail Price Declines

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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At $488/ton, the average retail price of MAP is 8% lower than last month. It's now 5% less expensive than last year. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices fell for the fourth consecutive week, according to prices tracked by DTN for the first week of September 2019, with nitrogen and phosphate products posting the steepest declines.

All eight of the major fertilizer were lower in price from the month prior, but only five had significant price declines, which DTN considers a price move of 5% or more.

Anhydrous led the way lower, dropping 10% from last month's price. It had an average price of $522/ton, $58/ton lower than last month.

The average UAN32 price was 9% lower than last month at $290/ton, a change of $30/ton. In addition, UAN28 prices decreased 6% from the prior month with an average price of $255/ton, down $17/ton.

MAP decreased 8% compared to last month and was at $488/ton, a $43/ton decline.

Urea prices were down 5% from last month at $408/ton, a $20/ton drop.

The remaining two fertilizers were lower in price, but not significantly. DAP had an average price of $491/ton, down $4/ton, while potash carried a price tag of $387/ton, $8/ton less than last month.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.32/lb.N, UAN28 $0.46/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

A variety of factors are contributing to lower retail fertilizer prices over the last month, fertilizer retailers told DTN. Steve Lias, general manager of the Farmers Elevator Co. in Humboldt, South Dakota, said each type of fertilizer has a different reason for declining prices.

With the wet spring across much of the Midwest, many farmers skipped phosphate (P) application. Lias said in his home region of southeastern South Dakota only about 20% to 25% of the corn acres and 40% of the soybeans acres even got planted.

As a result, many retailers still have a decent supply of the fertilizer. Even if P was applied and no crop was planted, the fertilizer should still be available to the crop next spring as long as something like a cover crop was not harvested for forage, he said.

"There are a lot of tons of P still around, and the demand for it is not there, which has affected the price," Lias said.

Potash (K) prices appear to be in the same boat with P fertilizer with lack of application in many areas, he said, but prices haven't seen the same type of drop.

As for nitrogen (N), retail prices have been volatile in recent weeks with some prices lower and some prices higher. Lias, like many retailers and farmers are in a wait-and-see mode about where N prices could go in the near term.

Which direction N prices move could ultimately depend on events in the world market. The number of tons moved to countries such as China and India will have an effect on North American N prices, he said.

"There could be some tightening with N supply in some regions here in the Midwest," he said.

With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, one fertilizer's price did drop to being lower in price from a year ago. MAP is now 5% less expensive than last year at this time.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. DAP is 1% higher, 10-34-0 is 6% more expensive, UAN32 is 7% higher, potash is 8% more expensive, anhydrous is 9% higher, UAN28 10% more expensive and urea is 12% 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.

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
Jun 10-14 2019 497 527 392 434
Jul 8-12, 2019 497 532 392 431
Aug 5-9 2019 495 531 395 428
Sep 2-6 2019 491 488 387 408
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Jun 10-14 2019 487 591 271 314
Jul 8-12, 2019 485 585 276 317
Aug 5-9 2019 491 580 272 320
Sep 2-6 2019 473 522 255 290

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

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN


Russ Quinn

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