DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Retail Fertilizer Prices Start 2017 With Mixed Moves

Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
The average price of DAP was slightly lower the first week of January 2017 compared to a month earlier at $431 per ton. DAP is now 13% less expensive than it was a year ago. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices started 2017 the same way they ended 2016 -- with some fertilizer prices lower and some higher compared to a month earlier, according to retailers surveyed by DTN the first week of January 2017.

Five of the eight major fertilizers were lower again, although none were considerably lower. DAP with an average price of $431 per ton, MAP $442/ton, 10-34-0 $436/ton, UAN28 $218/ton and UAN32 $255/ton.

The remaining three fertilizers were slightly higher, though none of these moves were significant. Potash had an average price of $322/ton, urea $339/ton and anhydrous $465/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.37/lb.N, anhydrous $0.28/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

In a presentation at the 2017 Fremont Corn Expo in Fremont, Nebraska, last week, Charles Shapiro, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Extension soil science/plant nutrition specialist located at the Haskell Agricultural Laboratory in Concord, spoke about phosphorus (P) fertilizer and maximizing yields while attempting to limit input costs. One question he said he gets often is: With both corn and soybean yields climbing higher every year, how much P fertilizer should be applied to replace what the previous year's crops took?

The other question is about building P levels, he said. If you build up P levels in the soil, will it ultimately pay, especially in time of tight crop margins?

"The first thing you want to do is a soil test to know what you have out there," Shapiro said. "If there is a deficiency, applying P will lead to higher yields; however, we also know as you push fertilizer levels higher there is a lower yield response."

There is no question that if your soils are low in P, applying the nutrient will raise yields, which pays for the additional cost of fertilizer. This would be for soils with less than 15 parts per million (ppm) of P, he said. Every state has slightly different levels for the critical levels of P depending on the soil type, Shapiro said.

The question is when you are building P -- usually in that range above 15 ppm -- how much to build to depends on how much money you typically have to spend, Shapiro said.

The problem is when building to around 35 ppm to 40 ppm, there is very little yield response to help pay for the increased fertilizer costs, he said. Significant yield responses are usually seen under 15 ppm.

Shapiro said P fertilizers are currently about a third to half the cost of what they were in past years. With lower fertilizer prices, right now would be a good time to invest in nutrients, he said.

"If you did happen to have extra money, the price of P is pretty cheap right now, and so it would be a good time to invest," he said.

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

Urea is now down 11%, DAP is 13% less expensive, MAP is 15% lower and potash is 18% less expensive. UAN32 is 19% lower while both anhydrous and UAN28 are 20% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 24% lower 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
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
Mar 28-Apr 1 2016 478 501 370 386
Apr 25-29 2016 476 502 366 386
May 23-27 2016 476 501 365 381
June 20-24 2016 470 495 358 366
July 18-22 2016 464 493 357 357
Aug 15-19 2016 452 471 333 337
Sept 5-9 2016 446 464 325 325
Oct 10-14 2016 438 452 313 316
Nov 7-11 2016 429 449 314 323
Dec 5-9 2016 434 443 318 333
Jan 2-6 2017 431 442 322 339
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Mar 28-Apr 1 2016 561 580 268 315
Apr 25-29 2016 560 587 274 321
May 23-27 2016 560 587 274 321
June 20-24 2016 554 567 265 305
July 18-22 2016 546 546 260 304
Aug 15-19 2016 513 516 238 285
Sept 5-9 2016 478 502 228 274
Oct 10-14 2016 454 475 224 264
Nov 7-11 2016 447 468 217 256
Dec 5-9 2016 445 463 219 257
Jan 2-6 2017 436 465 218 255

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

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

(BAS/AG)