DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Prices Plunge in Last Week of 2015

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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DAP led the charge in price drops in December, tumbling 9% compared to a month earlier and down 14% for the year. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices rounded out 2015 with large declines the final week of December, according to fertilizer retailers tracked by DTN. This marks the first time in many months average prices of multiple fertilizers moved significantly.

All eight of the major fertilizers drifted lower compared to a month earlier, and six of the eight were down by some consequence.

Leading the way lower was DAP, which slid 9% compared to last month. The phosphorus fertilizer had an average price of $494 per ton. DAP fell below the $500-per-ton level for the first time since the second week of January 2014 when the price was $495 per ton.

Both potash and anhydrous were down 6% compared to last month. Potash had an average price of $398/ton and anhydrous at $590/ton.

The current price of $398/ton for potash continues to be the lowest prices on our DTN retail fertilizer dataset. Meanwhile, the $590/ton price for anhydrous is the first time the nitrogen fertilizer had been under $600/ton since the third week of August 2010 when the average price was $593/ton.

MAP, UAN28 and UAN32 were all down 5% from a month earlier. MAP had an average price of $531/ton, UAN28 $273/ton and UAN32 $317/ton.

The remaining two fertilizers, urea and 10-34-0, had slight declines compared to last month. Urea had an average price of $383/ton and 10-34-0 was at $570/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.49/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

Last week we took a quick survey of farmers on Twitter to see how they were going to handle the traditional year-end fertilizer purchasing for tax purposes. Some chose to pre-order fertilizer while others continue to wait, hoping retail fertilizer prices move lower.

Andy Weisser (@dubyadirt), a farmer from Roscoe, South Dakota, said he would normally lock in some fertilizer at the end of the calendar year, but this year he will be waiting a little longer before buying some fertilizer.

"I am going to do it soon; I normally do it at the end of the year, but my agronomist said to wait as it is still working its way down," Weisser told DTN.

Weisser said he already locked in a few loads of starter fertilizer at levels less expensive than what he paid in recent years. He still needs to lock in the bulk of his dry fertilizer and hopes to do this in the next 30 days.

"I hate to tie up money (with fertilizer), but I don't plan on cutting back on any fertilizer either. I hope to 'bushel out' a profit" with top yields, he said.

Wayne Martin (@redfarmer1), a farmer from Shelby, Iowa, said he would be purchasing fertilizer before the end of the year for tax purposes. He uses mostly liquid fertilizers, from liquid UAN32 to liquid P and K.

"I am planning to book this week, mainly for tax purposes," Martin said just before New Year's. "I doubt if prices will fall much more. The industry knows we will need it sooner or later and some prices dropped from a year ago, so I'm glad for that."

Martin added that he most likely will be making some cuts to the fertilizer he applies, mainly the micro-nutrients he normally adds to his western Iowa soils. Economics are forcing farmers to spend their input money wisely, he said.

All fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All but one fertilizer is now double digits lower. The only fertilizer not down much is 10-34-0, which fell 1%.

UAN32 is 10% less expensive, MAP is 11% lower, DAP is 13% less expensive and UAN28 is 15% lower from a year ago. Both anhydrous and urea are 17% lower and potash is now 18% less expensive 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 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
Dec 29-Jan 2 2015 565 593 486 462
Jan 26-30 2015 568 597 487 472
Feb 23-27 2015 568 597 488 472
Mar 23-27 2015 570 598 490 467
Apr 20-24 2015 570 598 491 453
May 18-22 2015 570 597 492 459
June 15-19 2015 571 597 490 467
July 13-17 2015 569 593 488 470
Aug 10-14 2015 568 591 479 457
Sep 7-11 2015 563 580 467 433
Oct 5-9 2015 548 564 446 418
Nov 2-6 2015 546 560 430 405
Nov 30-Dec 4 2015 541 559 421 400
Dec 28-Jan 1 2016 494 531 398 383
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Dec 29-Jan 2 2015 576 707 322 353
Jan 26-30 2015 585 707 326 367
Feb 23-27 2015 598 706 330 370
Mar 23-27 2015 639 706 333 371
Apr 20-24 2015 650 711 329 371
May 18-22 2015 650 710 332 372
June 15-19 2015 642 706 330 369
July 13-17 2015 639 691 323 359
Aug 10-14 2015 631 677 315 356
Sep 7-11 2015 594 656 301 346
Oct 5-9 2015 584 639 294 338
Nov 2-6 2015 583 633 291 332
Nov 30-Dec 4 2015 578 627 286 332
Dec 28-Jan 1 2016 570 590 273 317

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

(MZT/AG)

Russ Quinn