DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Farmers Waiting to Book Fertilizer for Next Spring

The price of urea dropped $5 in the past week from the previous week. Urea prices have declined 18% since 2014. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Prices of most types of retail fertilizer declined the third week of October 2015, according to dealers tracked by DTN.

With the exception of DAP, which remained unchanged last week, prices dropped for other major fertilizer types tracked by DTN.

Potash prices continued to fall, dropping $11 per ton in the past two weeks: falling $5 last week and $6 the previous week. The price of urea also dropped $5 in the past week.

Prices of UAN28 and UAN32 both dropped $4 in the past week, while anhydrous prices fell $3 since last week. Prices of MAP and 10-34-0 both dropped just $2 since last week.

DAP averaged $547 per ton, MAP $562/ton, potash $435/ton, urea $413/ton, 10-34-0 $582/ton, anhydrous $637/ton, UAN28 $291/ton and UAN32 $334/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.45/lb.N, anhydrous $0.39/lb.N, UAN28 $0.52/lb.N and UAN32 $0.52/lb.N.

All fertilizer prices are lower compared to a year earlier.

Urea prices have declined the greatest amount since 2014, down 18%, with UAN28 prices down 11%. Prices of potash, anhydrous and UAN32 are all 9% lower than last year, with prices of DAP and MAP each 6% lower than last year's levels.

FARMERS WAITING FOR HARVEST COMPLETION TO BOOK FERTILIZER

Bob Worth, who farms near Lake Benton, Minnesota, said that he has not booked any fertilizer yet this fall. Worth said he spoke with his fertilizer dealer, who advised him to wait a bit, as fertilizer prices were softening.

With the exception of one year when he bought early because prices were predicted to rise considerably, Worth said late fall is normally when he buys.

"We will not be booking any fertilizer until the first part of November," he said. "That's when we really get serious into next year's business."

He added that he does buy at the end of year for tax purposes, but also because November and December are usually by far the best buy for fertilizer.

Worth said he will apply P & K this fall on fields where he will plant soybeans next year, but will apply all his corn fertilizer in the spring.

Worth said he is looking to work more with local hog barns to increase his use of natural fertilizer, which he feels works better than commercial fertilizer.

"It seems like we are getting a better yield response from hog manure than commercial fertilizer," he said. He added that because the hog manure is more natural and organic, he does not have to worry as much about run-off and environmental regulations.

He added that he still needs to buy commercial fertilizer, as he is unable to get enough hog manure to replace it all.

Matt Rush, who farms near Fairfield, Illinois, said he has decided not to put on any fertilizer this fall.

"With the low commodity prices we're seeing this year, we would like to see if there's a response in fertilizer prices," he said.

He added that he has not booked any fertilizer yet for next season.

"We usually don't start thinking about it until after the crops are off, at least the first of November," Rush said.

When Rush does lock in fertilizer, he usually relies on his local cooperative for guidance on where market prices are at and where predictions are that they may go.

As for spring, Rush said he plans on applying as much fertilizer as he normally does.

"We won't cut rates just because of the price," he said.

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 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
Oct 20-24 2014 582 599 478 507
Nov 17-21 2014 576 595 480 493
Dec 15-19 2014 565 592 483 461
Jan 12-16 2015 566 594 486 465
Feb 9-13 2015 569 597 488 473
Mar 9-13 2015 570 597 489 471
Apr 6-Apr 10 2015 570 598 491 461
May 4-8 2015 570 598 491 457
June 1-5 2015 570 598 491 461
June 29-July 3 2015 570 596 490 469
July 27-31 2015 569 594 487 469
Aug 24-28 2015 567 586 476 447
Sept 21-25 2015 562 575 454 428
Oct 19-23 2015 547 562 435 413
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Oct 20-24 2014 557 697 327 367
Nov 17-21 2014 560 709 322 366
Dec 15-19 2014 572 705 322 362
Jan 12-16 2015 582 710 325 364
Feb 9-13 2015 589 707 330 370
Mar 9-13 2015 626 706 331 371
Apr 6-Apr 10 2015 648 709 333 370
May 4-8 2015 653 711 331 371
June 1-5 2015 650 710 331 371
June 29-July 3 2015 642 705 330 369
July 27-31 2015 636 689 324 354
Aug 24-28 2015 609 667 309 350
Sept 21-25 2015 589 646 297 343
Oct 19-23 2015 582 637 291 334

Cheryl Anderson can be reached at Cheryl.anderson@dtn.com

Follow her on Twitter @CherylADTN

(GH/AG)