DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Most Fertilizer Prices Still Lower

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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National average urea prices have collapsed $180 per ton since the spring of 2014 and are running about 19% below year-ago levels, DTN's weekly survey finds. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Average retail fertilizer prices were mostly lower the fourth week of January 2016. However, the steep price declines of recent weeks appear to be slowing, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Six of the eight major fertilizers edged lower compared to a month earlier with all six down just slightly. MAP averaged $515/ton, potash $391/ton, urea $380/ton, anhydrous $569/ton, UAN28 $271/ton and UAN32 $317/ton.

The remaining two fertilizers were slightly higher in price compared to last month. DAP had an average price of $495/ton and 10-34-0 $571/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.41/lb.N, anhydrous $0.35/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

With fertilizer prices dropping significantly since mid-2015, farmers face more questions about when to purchase fertilizer. Do they purchase some of their needs now and risk missing out on even lower price? Or do they wait, see if prices go any lower, but risk prices climbing higher as spring approaches?

Not an easy decision.

Karl Jacobson, a farmer from Concordia, Kansas, said the only fertilizer he has already purchased for the 2016 growing season is 10-34-0. Supply concerns about starter fertilizer were the reason he locked in this particular nutrient.

"They said it could be short (this spring) so I bought that in December, but I haven't bought anything else," Jacobson told DTN.

He added he put some money down and bought starter for $570 per ton.

Jacobson said he will most likely lock in at least some of his fertilizer needs by March. With margins being so tight this year, he might be shopping around more than he has done in the past as he looks for the best price possible when it comes to buying fertilizers.

"I usually buy from just one place, but I may have to do different things this year," he said. "I may have to nose around to a couple different suppliers and see what they are offering."

With retail fertilizer moving lower in recent months, 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 is down 2%.

DAP is now 13% lower, MAP and UAN32 are down 14%, UAN28 is 17% less than a year ago. Urea and anhydrous are running 19% lower; potash prices average 20% lower.

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
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
Jan 25-29 2016 495 515 391 380
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Jan 25-29 2016 571 569 271 317

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

(MZT/AG)

Russ Quinn