DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Prices Reward Procrastinators

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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At an average of $494 per ton, MAP is 17% less expensive than a year ago. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- For the second week in a row, retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN are mixed but still offering savings compared to a year ago.

Five fertilizers were lower compared to month earlier, but the move to the low side was insignificant. DAP averaged $477 per ton, MAP $494/ton, potash $372/ton, 10-34-0 $562/ton and anhydrous $541/ton.

Three fertilizers edged higher in prices compared to last month, but again the move was fairly small. Urea averaged $378/ton, UAN28 $262/ton and UAN32 $312/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.41/lb.N, anhydrous $0.33/lb.N, UAN28 $0.47/lb.N and UAN32 $0.49/lb.N.

The downward spiral in fertilizer prices since last August has encouraged procrastination and rewarded those who delayed orders.

Back in late December 2015, farmer Quentin Bowen of Humboldt, Nebraska, told DTN he was going to wait to purchase most of his fertilizer since prices were on the decline. At that point, he had not purchased any of his anhydrous needs yet. In recent years, he said, he waited to buy fertilizer until he needed it.

Checking in with Bowen now, he finally booked anhydrous in mid-February. He was able to start applying on Feb. 24 and finished on March 5, which is earlier than normal for his region.

"The fact is that we saved between $140 to $150 a ton by waiting is very significant," Bowen told DTN. "We are very fortunate at this point to have it for that price and to have it on now."

Field conditions last fall were a little too warm and too dry to apply anhydrous, so he did not apply any. As it turns out, by waiting he ended up saving a considerable amount of money on his nitrogen fertilizer.

Bowen is now preparing to apply additional dry fertilizer to his southeastern Nebraska fields. He purchased MAP in the early part of February at what he felt was a good price.

"I am working on our spreader now," he said.

After the six-month slide in prices, all fertilizers are double-digits lower compared to a year earlier. Even 10-34-0 is now down 10%.

Both DAP and UAN32 are now 16% lower, MAP is 17% less expensive and urea is 20% lower from a year ago. In addition, UAN28 is 21% less expensive, anhydrous is 23% lower and potash is 24% 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 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 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
Nov 16-20 2015 545 559 424 403
Dec 14-18 2015 532 544 410 392
Jan 11-15 2016 495 521 391 381
Feb 8-12 2016 479 499 378 369
Mar 7-11 2016 477 494 372 378
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Nov 16-20 2015 579 629 287 332
Dec 14-18 2015 571 612 279 331
Jan 11-15 2016 572 581 272 319
Feb 8-12 2016 569 551 261 303
Mar 7-11 2016 562 541 262 312

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

(MZT/AG)

Russ Quinn