DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Anhydrous, 10-34-0 Leading Way Lower

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Anhydrous prices were 6% lower than a month ago in the first week of October. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices continued to move lower during the first week of October 2016, continuing the recent trend, according to retailers surveyed by DTN. All eight of the major fertilizers are lower compared to last month with only two fertilizers down a substantial amount.

Leading the way lower for the first time is anhydrous. The nitrogen fertilizer is 6% lower compared to a month earlier and has an average price of $472/ton.

The other fertilizer significantly lower is 10-34-0. The starter fertilizer is 5% less expensive from the first week of September and now has an average price of $454/ton.

The remaining six fertilizers were all lower compared to last month, but the move to the low side was fairly slight. DAP had an average price of $438/ton, MAP $451/ton, potash $312/ton, urea $315/ton, UAN28 $224/ton and UAN32 $263/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.29/lb.N, UAN28 $0.40/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

Declining retail fertilizer prices helped lower farmers' input costs in 2016 and now with the crops being harvested and fertilizer being applied for the 2017 growing season, many are wondering where fertilizer prices could be in the next growing season. In a post on the Agricultural Economic Insights website titled "Will Farmers Benefit from Lower Fertilizer Prices Again in 2017?" author David A. Widmar examines the possibility that even lower fertilizer prices could be seen in 2017.

The trends over the last few years show most retail fertilizer prices peaked in 2010 to 2012 and since mid-2013, prices have settled lower, he wrote.

"In fewer than two years of data, anhydrous ammonia prices went from $725 per ton in early 2015 to nearly $500 per tons recently," Widmar wrote. "And while many expected lower fertilizer prices, the magnitude of the decline, more than a 31% decrease, is more than many likely expected."

An estimated fertilizer expense for a 180-70-70 fertilizer application (anhydrous, DAP and potash) during the highest prices in 2011 to 2013 was around $160 per acre. By 2014 and 2015 prices had moved lower and this application would have cost nearly $140 per acre.

In the spring of 2016, the cost of this application dropped another $28 per acre and cost $112 per acre. Currently, the cost of this application is $96 per acre, nearly 40% lower than 2014 and 2015 levels, he wrote.

Looking forward to 2017, Widmar said fertilizer prices have been moving lower in recent months and could point to another year of lower fertilizer prices for producers. However, nothing is certain.

"While prices are currently lower than earlier this year, it will be important to monitor demand for fertilizer -- especially the intended size of the 2017 U.S. corn acreage," he wrote. "Commodity prices, fertilizer prices and crop acreages will all be important factors to watch over the winter."

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double-digits lower.

Both DAP and MAP are now down 20% and both 10-34-0 and UAN32 are 22% lower. UAN28 is down 24%, urea is 25% less expensive, anhydrous is 26% lower and potash is 30% less expensive compared to a year prior.

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 2010 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
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
Oct 3-7 2016 438 451 312 315
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Oct 3-7 2016 454 472 224 263

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

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(CZ/BAS)

Russ Quinn