DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Most Fertilizer Prices Continue to Fall

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Potash had an average price of $345 per ton the third week of September 2017, up about 2% from $338 per ton the third week of August 2017. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- The majority of average retail fertilizer prices continued to fall the third week of September 2017, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. However, for the time in several months, multiple fertilizers were slightly higher in price.

Six of the eight major fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month. DAP had an average price of $429 per ton, MAP $452/ton, 10-34-0 $416/ton, anhydrous $402/ton, UAN28 $211/ton and UAN32 $248/ton.

Two fertilizers were slightly higher compared to the previous month. Potash had an average price of $345 per ton and urea $312/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.34/lb.N, anhydrous $0.25/lb.N, UAN28 $0.38/lb.N and UAN32 $0.39/lb.N.

Harvest is progressing in northeastern Kansas, and decisions about fall fertilizer applications will be made soon. Jeremy Olson, agronomist for Peterson Seed and Service located in Hiawatha, Kansas, is busy sampling soil.

Farmers walk a fine line when it comes to deciding what inputs are important to increase yields while still remaining profitable. Olson said what the soil test results say is weighed against the current low commodity prices.

"I bet we don't change much (in fertilizer applications), but all decisions will be made based on soil tests and yield goals respectively," Olson told DTN. "We may be down on phosphorus (P) applications and up on potash (K) as we are pretty deficient in K here."

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Olson said he believes farmers will still spend money on fertilizer during times of low grain prices, but they are a little choosier on how they decide where to apply the fertilizer.

In the past during higher grain prices, most would say "spread my fields" based on the results of the soil test and their yield goals. This upcoming growing season with continued lower prices, there is going to be more of "I only want to spend $50 per acre -- budget it for me," Olson said.

With some shorter crops located in western areas of his region, Olson said he believes soil testing after a less-than-average crop is even more important than after a larger crop.

"We need to know where we can cut fertilizer costs if possible, and soil testing is a great start to planting 2018," he said. "It will be important to make educated and informative decisions with fertilizer."

Prices for all but one retail fertilizer are lower compared to a year earlier. Two of the eight major fertilizers are double digits lower.

Anhydrous is now 19% lower from a year ago while 10-34-0 is 12% less expensive and UAN32 is 9% lower. UAN28 is 6% less expensive, urea is 3% lower, DAP is 3% less expensive and MAP is 1% lower. The one fertilizer higher compared to last year is potash which is now 8% more expensive.

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
Sept 19-23 2016 443 453 319 323
Oct 17-21 2016 436 452 313 317
Nov 14-18 2016 436 445 315 327
Dec 12-16 2016 433 443 320 333
Jan 9-13 2017 432 441 320 338
Feb 6-10 2017 431 448 330 354
Mar 03-10 2017 436 460 336 361
Apr 3-7 2017 438 466 338 354
May 1-5 2017 436 466 339 351
May 29-Jun 2 2017 436 471 340 339
Jun 26-30 2017 437 470 340 333
Jul 24-28 2017 434 462 338 308
Aug 21-25 2017 434 458 338 304
Sep 18-22 2017 429 452 345 312
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Sept 19-23 2016 470 494 225 271
Oct 17-21 2016 453 475 224 265
Nov 14-18 2016 445 466 219 256
Dec 12-16 2016 444 463 219 257
Jan 9-13 2017 437 467 222 258
Feb 6-10 2017 440 485 238 273
Mar 03-10 2017 441 503 246 279
Apr 3-7 2017 441 505 248 280
May 1-5 2017 436 508 247 280
May 29-Jun 2 2017 436 503 248 280
Jun 26-30 2017 435 484 238 268
Jul 24-28 2017 425 423 229 265
Aug 21-25 2017 419 417 216 248
Sep 18-22 2017 416 402 211 248

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

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Russ Quinn