DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Prices Mixed

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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National average anhydrous prices continued to fall in this week's retail survey, tumbling more than $100 per ton since last October. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Some retail fertilizer prices are continuing to slip lower, but others have reversed course the first week of March, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. This falls in line with reports of higher wholesale prices in recent weeks and signs the trend is spreading to the retail fertilizer market.

For the first time in many months, some fertilizers showed higher prices in DTN's weekly survey. Three fertilizers had higher prices, but none of these were up any significant amount.

Urea averaged $374 per ton, 10-34-0 $566/ton and UAN32 $309/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers dipped lower, but again the move was slight. DAP averaged $476/ton, MAP $492/ton, potash $373/ton, anhydrous $537/ton and UAN28 $260/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was $0.41/lb.N, anhydrous $0.33/lb.N, UAN28 $0.47/lb.N and UAN32 $0.48/lb.N.

Among the reasons for retail fertilizer prices beginning to rise in recent weeks is the fact that fertilizer is being applied for the rapidly approaching growing season. Despite the fact we are just a few days into the month of March, anhydrous is now being applied as far north as Iowa.

Mike Carlson, who farms near Red Oak, Iowa, was busy applying anhydrous Monday morning March 7. And he wasn't the only one in the southwest Iowa region applying fertilizer.

"Anhydrous is going on here like its April 7 and they are going to plant tomorrow," Carlson told DTN. "I started today (Monday) and it is working great."

Carlson said he purchased about half of his nitrogen needs (in the form of anhydrous) last fall. He then purchased the other half of his anhydrous in the last couple of weeks, he said.

The anhydrous he bought recently was about $63 per ton less expensive than what he paid last fall. While that is a nice price savings, he was hoping anhydrous would decline in price more than it ended up dropping, he said.

"My co-op said that anhydrous will only go up as everyone gets running this spring," he said.

Carlson also noted he was kicking up dust in his fields while he was applying anhydrous. He is not too worried about dry field conditions yet as it always seems like his area gets plenty of moisture as soon as he hooks up his planter to his tractor.

Despite the recent price shuffle, all fertilizers remain double digits lower compared to a year ago. The smallest change is with 10-34-0, now down 10%.

DAP is now 16% lower, UAN32 17% less expensive and MAP 18% lower from a year earlier. In addition, both urea and UAN28 are 21% less expensive while both potash and anhydrous are 24% 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 include 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 2-6 2015 570 597 489 471
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
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Mar 2-6 2015 626 706 331 371
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

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

(MZT/AG)

Russ Quinn