OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer price moves continued to be mixed the fourth week of March 2020, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. At the same time, fertilizer retailers are also reporting the COVID-19 pandemic is having an effect on their operations as spring fieldwork begins.
Average retail prices for four fertilizers were lower compared to last month, while prices for the other four were higher, a continuation of the trend we have seen in recent weeks.
Urea was the one fertilizer with a noteworthy move. The nitrogen fertilizer was 5% more expensive compared to last month. The fertilizer's average price was $382 per ton.
Prices for three other fertilizers were just slightly higher in price compared to last month. Anhydrous had an average price of $491/ton, UAN28 $235/ton and UAN32 $278/ton.
Meanwhile, average prices for the remaining four fertilizers decreased slightly from a month ago. DAP had an average price of $409/ton, MAP $434/ton, potash $370/ton and 10-34-0 $466/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered nearly every aspect of life today, and fertilizer retailers are certainly seeing considerable changes in how they operate. Fred Butt, a sales agronomist for Donovan Farmers Coop in Donovan, Illinois, said they have closed their office to customers but continue to communicate with them in other ways.
"Most of the business is by phone, texts and emails with lots of plans and maps scanned and emailed," Butt told DTN. "It has been taken very well, as growers don't want to risk contact either."
Butt said the fertilizer supply for the spring planting season is pretty much in place at most retailers in his region of east-central Illinois, so there shouldn't be any issues once the spring application season begins. The real question is going to be, when retailers have to refill their stockpiles, will the supply of truckers be reduced due to the virus.
This is hard to predict, and no one really has any solid answers, he said.
As for fertilizer prices, Butt said he believes anhydrous prices should stay stable to soft this spring, short of any transportation issues. UAN prices could see some strength with demand this spring, but the real question here is what the weather will be like during application, he said.
With dry fertilizer (phosphorus and potash), Butt said he has seen some farmers who didn't spread last fall and were considering applying this spring who are now deciding not to. These farmers are thinking their cash flows could be lower with the economy heading downward. However, some might reconsider skipping this spring application if an "optimistic attitude" returns, he said.
Retail fertilizers are now all lower in price from a year ago. DAP is 20% lower, MAP is 19% less expensive, anhydrous is 18% lower, both UAN28 and UAN32 are 13% less expensive, urea is 5% lower, potash is 4% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 1% lower from last year at this time.
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 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|
|Sep 30-Oct 4, 2019||476||474||384||404|
|Oct 28-Nov 1 2019||464||472||383||402|
|Nov 25-29 2019||456||465||381||386|
|Dec 23-27 2019||443||454||377||378|
|Jan 20-24 2020||413||435||374||357|
|Feb 17-21 2020||410||435||373||361|
|Mar 16-20 2020||408||433||370||382|
|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|
|Sep 30-Oct 4, 2019||470||511||253||289|
|Oct 28-Nov 1 2019||468||503||251||291|
|Nov 25-29 2019||472||497||245||277|
|Dec 23-27 2019||469||488||240||276|
|Jan 20-24 2020||470||487||237||275|
|Feb 17-21 2020||464||490||235||277|
|Mar 16-20 2020||466||491||235||278|
Russ Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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