DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Prices Plunging

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Starter fertilizer prices have spiraled down 13% in the past month alone, leading the most recent collapse in retail nutrient prices. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices continue to decline for the fifth consecutive week, according to national average prices tracked by DTN for the first week of September. Once again, all eight major fertilizers were lower compared a month earlier with all but one marking considerable price drops.

One thing that is new this week is multiple fertilizers with double-digit price declines. 10-34-0 is 13% lower compared to month earlier while UAN32 is 11% less expensive and UAN28 is 10% lower. 10-34-0 averaged $478 per ton, UAN32 $274/ton and UAN28 $228/ton.

Just missing a double-digit price decline was anhydrous, which was down 9% compared to the previous month. Urea slid 7%, potash was 6% less expensive and MAP was down 5%. Anhydrous had an average price of $502/ton, urea $325/ton, potash $325/ton and MAP $464/ton.

One fertilizer, DAP, was only just slightly lower in price compared to a month ago. The phosphorus fertilizer averaged $446/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.35/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.41/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

Like last week, DTN asked farmers if these lower retail fertilizer prices have prompted them to pre-order fertilizer or, at the very least, think about their fertilizer needs for the next growing season. Fertilizer retailers have reported throughout the current growing season their farmer/customers have been extremely reluctant to book their upcoming fertilizer needs.

Doug Zillinger, who farms near Logan, Kansas, said he is aware fertilizer prices have dropped recently. Despite this knowledge, he has decided to wait on buying fertilizer.

"I'm hoping it will go down more," Zillinger said. "I was also thinking about applying all my fertilizer on 2017 crops before the first of the year, weather permitting."

Mark Israel is in the interesting position of being a farmer whose family also owns and operates a farm supply business. The South Georgia farmer said he pays the same price as his customers pay for fertilizer.

"I haven't priced any," Israel told DTN. "I hope it continues to go down as commodities have."

Another farmer who hasn't locked in any fertilizer yet is Scott Wallis. The Princeton, Indiana, farmer said he noticed lower prices. He spreads his own fertilizer, so he buys his fertilizer direct. Those prices are 25% to 30% lower than last year for potash and about 20% less DAP, he said.

According to DTN surveys, retail fertilizers are significantly lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double digits lower.

Both MAP and 10-34-0 are now down 20% and both DAP and UAN32 are 21% lower. Anhydrous is now 23% lower, UAN28 is 24% less expensive, urea is down 25% and potash is 31% lower compared to a year ago.

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
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
Feb 22-26 2016 477 492 373 371
Mar 21-25 2016 475 501 371 390
Apr 18-22 2016 477 502 366 388
May 16-20 2016 476 501 365 384
June 13-17 2016 469 496 359 367
July 11-15 2016 467 496 358 360
Aug 8-12 2016 453 482 344 345
Sept 5-9 2016 446 464 325 325
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Feb 22-26 2016 566 536 260 309
Mar 21-25 2016 561 569 276 312
Apr 18-22 2016 561 588 274 322
May 16-20 2016 558 588 274 321
June 13-17 2016 555 566 266 305
July 11-15 2016 538 547 266 306
Aug 8-12 2016 528 522 249 299
Sept 5-9 2016 478 502 228 274

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

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(MZT/AG)

Russ Quinn