DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Anhydrous Climbs Higher

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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National average retail prices for anhydrous tumbled $174 per ton between May 2015 and February 2016, but bounced $43 per ton higher in the last month. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices continued to move higher the last week of March 2016, which has been the trend in recent weeks, according to prices tracked by DTN.

Six of the eight major fertilizers edged higher compared to a month earlier. The only fertilizer up any significance is anhydrous, which is 8% above a month earlier. Anhydrous averaged $580 per ton.

Five other fertilizers were higher compared to last month, but the move to the high side was fairly small. DAP averaged $478/ton, MAP $501/ton, urea $386/ton, UAN28 $268/ton and UAN32 $315/ton.

Two fertilizers were lower in price, but the move lower was fairly slight. Potash averaged $370/ton while 10-34-0 was at $561/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.35/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

In a recent audio report titled "Declining Fertilizer Prices," University of Wisconsin Extension soil scientist Carrie Laboski explains how the decrease in fertilizer prices affects farmers and what causes the price of fertilizer to fluctuate.

Laboski reported fertilizers have declined some but crop producers will still have profitability concerns with this year's crops.

"We're seeing from late fall until spring, maybe a 20% reduction in some fertilizer prices, not all," Laboski said. "And that is a good thing for the farmer. Unfortunately, it's probably not enough to close the gap between the cost of production and what they'll earn on their crops."

There are several factors affecting the price of fertilizer, she said. The price of natural gas affects the price of fertilizer as natural gas is required in the production of fertilizer materials. Fertilizer also tends to follow the price of grains as well, she added.

Laboski said UW Extension can help farmers survive the volatility in the fertilizer market by utilizing their nitrogen rate guidelines, which is price-adjusted.

"Our data that we collect through our research trials, we evaluate that and we evaluate that through the lens of economics," she said. "So we're not looking for maximum production, we're looking for maximum economic production, so maximizing profitability."

The UW report can be found here: http://fyi.uwex.edu/…

Despite the recent price bump in some retail fertilizers, all products remain double digits lower compared to a year ago. 10-34-0 now 13% lower.

UAN32 is 15% lower compared to a year earlier while DAP, MAP and urea are all now 16% less expensive. In addition, anhydrous is 18% lower, UAN28 is 19% less expensive and potash is 25% lower compared to a year earlier.

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 prices in the DTN Fertilizer Index on the Fertilizer page under Farm Business.

Retail fertilizer charts dating back to November 2008 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.

DTN's average of retail fertilizer prices from a month earlier ($ per ton):

DRY
Date Range DAP MAP POTASH UREA
Mar 30-Apr 3 2015 569 598 491 462
Apr 27-May 1 2015 571 598 492 455
May 25-29 2015 570 597 492 459
June 22-26 2015 572 597 490 469
July 20-24 2015 569 594 487 469
Aug 17-21 2015 568 587 477 448
Sept 14-18 2015 563 579 462 432
Oct 12-16 2015 547 564 440 418
Nov 9-13 2015 547 561 426 405
Dec 7-11 2015 534 555 417 397
Jan 4-8 2016 495 521 392 381
Feb 1-5 2016 488 502 381 370
Feb 29-Mar 4 2016 476 492 373 374
Mar 28-Apr 1 2016 478 501 370 386
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Mar 30-Apr 3 2015 642 708 333 370
Apr 27-May 1 2015 652 711 332 371
May 25-29 2015 650 710 332 371
June 22-26 2015 641 690 330 369
July 20-24 2015 636 689 324 354
Aug 17-21 2015 611 667 309 349
Sept 14-18 2015 593 653 300 345
Oct 12-16 2015 584 640 295 338
Nov 9-13 2015 581 631 289 332
Dec 7-11 2015 575 625 284 330
Jan 4-8 2016 572 582 273 316
Feb 1-5 2016 549 555 263 305
Feb 29-Mar 4 2016 566 537 260 309
Mar 28-Apr 1 2016 561 580 268 315

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

(MZT/AG)

Russ Quinn