DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Prices Still Stable

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Fertilizer prices this week are stable, showing little movement. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- It was another week of extremely steady retail fertilizer prices the fourth week of May 2017, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. No fertilizer prices were significantly higher or lower from the previous month.

Of the eight major fertilizer, five were slightly lower in price compared to a month earlier. These were DAP, urea, 10-34-0, anhydrous and UAN32.

DAP had an average price of $436 per ton, urea $343/ton, 10-34-0 $436/ton, anhydrous $503/ton and UAN32 $280/ton.

The remaining three fertilizers were slightly higher in price from last month, but again, none were up a sizable amount. MAP had an average price of $471/ton, potash $340/ton and UAN28 $249/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.37/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.44/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

Farmers across the Corn Belt are beginning to sidedress nitrogen to their young corn plants, a practice that has become more and more popular in recent years. The nitrogen is fed to the plants just when it is needed most, allowing for better yields and less nitrogen lost.

Steven Fellure, a farmer from Attica, Indiana, said he has been sidedressing since the 1970s. He started sidedressing with anhydrous, and then about three years ago, he switched over to using UAN28.

He sidedresses some of his corn acres, but this practice takes some additional time, something of which he doesn't always have a plentiful supply.

"I have cattle so have hay and trucks and wheat as well," Fellure said. "I have lots to squeeze in."

Ben Riensche, a corn and soybean farmer from Jessup, Iowa, said he believes there are two main factors for why farmers have embraced sidedressing nitrogen beyond the obvious positive agronomy reasons.

One factor would be the major advances in the technology used to apply and keep an eye on the nitrogen applied.

The better equipment allows farmers to have several different options to apply the nitrogen later when the plant really needs it. The nitrogen management tools offer farmers a way to monitor how much they have applied and how much more is needed, he said.

"There are many new tools to put on in-season nitrogen in several different forms today, which we didn't have years ago," Riensche said.

The other factor also pushing the sidedressing boom, according to Riensche, is farmers now have access to new supply of nitrogen from recently built sources, such as the Iowa Fertilizer Company nitrogen facility located in Wever, Iowa. Farmers like the flexibility of driving their own trucks to the terminal, purchasing their own nitrogen and applying it however they see fit.

The new sources of nitrogen have really changed how farmers buy and apply nitrogen on their farms, he said.

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, anhydrous is 14% less expensive, UAN32 is 13% lower and urea is down 10%. UAN28 is 9% less expensive, DAP is 8% lower, potash is 7% less expensive and MAP are 6% lower 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
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
May 22-26 2017 436 471 340 343
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
May 22-26 2017 436 503 249 280

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

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(AG/SK)

Russ Quinn