MT. JULIET, Tenn. (DTN) -- The average retail price of three fertilizers increased by more than $100 per ton in the past month, according to prices tracked by DTN for the second week of October. Seven of the eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN took staggering jumps higher in that timeframe, and four now cost twice as much as last year.
Leading the pack this week is urea, which saw its price increase 26%. For reference, DTN considers any price change of 5% or more to be significant. With an average price of $719/ton, urea is $147 per ton more expensive than it was in mid-September. The last time urea cost more than $700 per ton was from April to June 2012.
The average retail price of potash was $710/ton, up 19% or $112 from last month. The last time it was this expensive was the first week of August 2009, according to DTN data.
At 16% higher, the average price of UAN 28 is $442/ton. That's a $61/ton increase from last month. The only time it's been more expensive was the first week of November 2008, which was the first week DTN began reporting on prices.
Anhydrous now costs an average of $873/ton, up $111 or 15% from last month. The last time the nitrogen fertilizer's price tag was this high was the third week of December 2012.
DAP and UAN32 prices increased by 14% this week. At $798/ton, DAP is the most expensive it's been since the first week of December 2008. UAN32 cost $488/ton on average, the highest since late May 2012.
Up 11%, MAP cost an average of $860/ton. That's $84 more expensive than mid-September, and the last time the phosphate fertilizer was this expensive was also the first week of December 2008.
The tortoise in this race is 10-34-0. It saw a 4% price increase to $654/ton. Its price was close to this level in spring 2015, but the last time it was higher was early August 2012.
A farmer trying to buy potash today would pay 113% more than last year. UAN28 costs 112% more. Anhydrous and urea prices are roughly double what they were last year at 106% and 100%, respectively. UAN32 is 96% more expensive. MAP is 81% higher; DAP, 80%. 10-34-0 is 43% more expensive.
With fertilizer prices nearing all-time highs, farmers are putting a lot of thought into next year's nutrient needs.
Jeremy Flikkema, who farms near Lanark, Illinois, told DTN he has already purchased some of his fertilizer needs for the upcoming growing season, including anhydrous, phosphorus and potash to varying degrees.
"The ammonia price is almost double last year," Flikkema said. "Right now, in-season pricing sounds like it is over $1,000 per ton locally."
His contract for anhydrous is only good until the end of the year, and his local fertilizer retailer will not let him book any for next spring, he said.
In addition to anhydrous, Flikkema said he typically applies some UAN32, but he can't get a price on this product right now. His retailer said they only have around 25% of their spring product needs booked, and they were having trouble getting offers from manufacturers for more.
To adjust, he said he might have to use more anhydrous and less UAN solutions. It appears the price for UAN could be over $500/ton in the spring.
"Between this large (price) increase and yields, a lot of people are looking at more beans," he said.
DTN surveys more than 300 retailers, gathering roughly 1,700 fertilizer price bids, to compile the DTN Fertilizer Index each week. In addition to national averages, MyDTN subscribers can access the full DTN Fertilizer Index, which includes state averages, here: https://www.mydtn.com/….
Last week, farmers from Nebraska and Iowa shared updates on fertilizer availability and prices in their areas as DTN's data showed anhydrous prices climbing above $800/ton. You can read it here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….
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DTN Staff Reporter Russ Quinn contributed to this report.
Katie Dehlinger can be reached at email@example.com
Follow her on Twitter at @KatieD_DTN
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