OMAHA (DTN) -- Average retail prices for the majority of fertilizers moved lower the last week of November 2016. However, prices for a couple of fertilizers were slightly higher compared to the previous month, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.
As has been the case for the last few weeks, prices of six of the eight major fertilizers were lower compared to a month earlier, with only one having a significant change. UAN28 was down 10% from last month with an average price of $217 per ton.
Other fertilizers with lower prices include DAP, which had an average price of $435/ton, MAP $445/ton, 10-34-0 $447/ton, anhydrous $465/ton and UAN32 $256/ton.
The remaining two fertilizers were slightly higher in price compared to a month prior. Neither fertilizer was up by any substantial amount, which has been the trend in recent weeks. Potash had an average price of $318/ton and urea was at $331/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.36/lb.N, anhydrous $0.28/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.
In an article from Iowa State University Extension titled "High Yields, Low Grain Prices: Manage Phosphorus and Potassium Wisely," author Antonio Mallarino, ISU professor of soil fertilizer and nutrient management, wrote that with the high-yielding grains harvested this fall, both phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) levels need to be replenished. However, this also needs to be balanced by economics, he wrote.
Mallarino recommends farmers use soil sampling and testing to make rational decisions. Farmers can see large economic benefits when applying P and K to soils with very low and low levels, but the response sharply decreases as soil test values increase in the optimum and high-testing categories.
"Very large and likely economic benefits from fertilization of corn and soybean in soils testing very low, but benefits bounce around breakeven in the optimum category due to small or no yield increases and become mostly negative in high-testing soils," Mallarino wrote. "Therefore, producers should not reduce P and K application in soils testing very low, may slightly reduce the rate in soils testing low and optimum, and only a starter rate might be justified in high-testing soils."
Mallarino also recommended farmers watch yield levels and P and K removal to maintain optimum levels of P and K in the soil. There can often be high response variations within the optimum category alone, he wrote.
A removal-based rate will maximize yield, but often the small yield increase does not offset application costs, especially with current low commodity prices. Therefore, if the producer's economic condition is not good and/or there is uncertainty about farming the land in the future, a fraction of the estimated removal-based rate or only starter could be applied when prices are low, according to Mallarino.
This may help profits in the short term, but higher P and K application rates will be needed in the future, he wrote.
"The decline in soil-test values is much slower than many believe, and producers having high-testing fields or field areas could save money by withholding or reducing application rates until levels decrease to the optimum category," he wrote. "They should be aware that there is a good long-term relationship between P and K removal with harvest and soil-test values."
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Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double digits lower.
Urea is now down 17%, both DAP and MAP are 20% less expensive and both 10-34-0 and UAN32 are 23% lower. UAN28 is 24% less expensive, potash is 25% lower and anhydrous is 26% 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):
|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|
|Oct 31-Nov 4 2016||436||451||314||319|
|Nov 28-Dec 2 2016||435||445||318||331|
|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|
|Oct 31-Nov 4 2016||452||471||244||262|
|Nov 28-Dec 2 2016||447||465||217||256|
Russ Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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