DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Prices Again Near Standstill

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Starter fertilizer 10-34-0 logged slightly lower prices in the last month. A University of Nebraska crop specialist said the fertilizer price has been on a roller coaster over the past 23 years. (DTN chart by Nick Scalise)

OMAHA (DTN) -- As in recent weeks, retail fertilizer prices continue to be very quiet with no significant movement in either direction, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the fourth week of April 2017.

Of the eight major fertilizers, four are slightly higher in price compared to a month earlier. Those four are MAP, potash, anhydrous and UAN32.

MAP had an average price of $466/ton, potash $338/ton, anhydrous $509/ton and UAN32 $280/ton.

The remaining four fertilizers are slightly lower in price from last month, but, again, none of them a considerable amount. DAP had an average price of $437/ton, urea $352/ton, 10-34-0 $437/ton and UAN28 $247/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.38/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.44/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

In a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Cropwatch report titled "Fertilizer Price Changes from 1994-2017" from April 25, Bob Klein, western Nebraska crop specialist, takes an interesting look at retail fertilizer prices going back 23 years.

Fertilizer is one of the major input costs for crop producers and changes more in price each year than many other input costs, Klein wrote. Producers can reduce their fertilizer costs by selecting the most economical source for the fertilizer they need.

On the price per pound of nitrogen basis, prices are more expensive over the 23-year period, but maybe not as much as one would expect.

In 1994, 28% had a price of $0.23 per lb/N. By 2006 the price was $0.42 and in 2009 it skyrocketed to $0.82. In 2010, it fell back to $0.32 but then jumped up to $0.72 in 2012 and 2013 and then decreased to $0.57 in 2014 and 2015. For 2017, UNL had the price at $0.44.

Like 28%, urea was also at $0.23 per pound of N in 1994. In 2006, the price was $0.38 and jumped to $0.90 in 2009. By 2010 the price was back at $0.43, but it yo-yoed to $0.60 in 2011 and $0.68 in 2012 and 2013.

Urea's price fell again in 2014 to $0.52 and it is at $0.38 for 2017, according to the UNL data.

One fertilizer whose prices did significantly increase during this time was liquid fertilizer, specifically 10-34-0.

Starter fertilizer's price in 1994 was $1.22/gallon. By 2001 the price increased slightly to $1.30. Then it skyrocketed higher in 2009 with all fertilizers and had a price of $6.84. By 2010 the prices had declined to $1.90 but was back up to $4.50 in 2011.

10-34-0's roller coaster price was at $3.35 in both 2012 and 2013 before declining to $2.55 in 2014. It was back up to $3.30 in 2015 and back down to $2.80 in 2016 and $2.40 so far in 2017.

"Table 1 lists the fertilizer costs used each year in the Nebraska Extension Crop Production Budgets since 1994," Klein wrote. "These prices were gathered the previous fall, so they may vary from the costs in late winter or spring."

The entire report can viewed at

http://cropwatch.unl.edu/….

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Half of the eight major fertilizers are still double-digits lower.

10-34-0 is 22% lower from a year ago, both anhydrous and UAN32 are 13% less expensive and UAN28 is 10% lower. Urea is 9% less expensive well both DAP and potash are both 8% lower and MAP is 7% less expensive compared to 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 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
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 12-16 2016 444 458 320 324
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
Jan 30-Feb 3 2017 430 448 329 353
Feb 27-Mar 03 2017 436 458 335 361
Mar 27-31 2017 438 465 338 356
Apr 24-28 2017 437 466 338 352
Liquid
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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 12-16 2016 474 496 233 272
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
Jan 30-Feb 3 2017 439 482 236 270
Feb 27-Mar 03 2017 440 502 246 279
Mar 27-31 2017 441 508 248 279
Apr 24-28 2017 437 509 247 280

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

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

(CZ)

Russ Quinn