DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Price Moves Mixed

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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The average retail price of urea was $325 per ton the second week of October 2017, up 5% from a month ago. The price of urea is now 3% higher than it was a year ago. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Half of average retail fertilizer prices were higher and half were lower the second week of October 2017 compared to one month earlier, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Four of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to last month, although only one was up significantly. Urea was up 5% compared to a month ago and had an average price of $325 per ton. The other three fertilizers, which were just slightly higher, were DAP with an average price of $432/ton, potash $347/ton and UAN32 $253/ton.

The remaining four fertilizers were slightly lower compared to last month. MAP had an average price of $453/ton, 10-34-0 $413/ton, anhydrous $397/ton and UAN28 $206/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.35/lb.N, anhydrous $0.24/lb.N, UAN28 $0.37/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

The fact that prices for half of the eight major retail fertilizers are now higher compared to a month ago is a bit surprising. For all of 2017, most industry experts have said they expected prices to decline as the growing season went along, certainly not climb higher as has been the case for some fertilizers.

The reasons why some fertilizers are higher in price compared to a month earlier might be twofold said Bob Spratt, manager of LeRoy Fertilizer Services located in LeRoy, Illinois.

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"My guess is that the increase is due to a combination of seasonal demand and lower river levels causing freight rates to go up," Spratt told DTN.

Barge freight costs are higher as low water levels on the Mississippi River are making shipping fertilizer up the river more difficult. While it is certainly possible fertilizer manufacturers could be raising prices some as well, the bigger factor at work is increasing freight rates, Spratt said.

As for his area of central Illinois, Spratt said fertilizer demand has been good this fall, and he figures fall application rates will be near the levels he has seen in recent years.

"My area has been blessed with great yields again," he said.

Five of the eight major retail fertilizers are now lower compared to a year earlier. Only one of the five is double digits lower. Anhydrous is now 17% lower from a year ago, while 10-34-0 is 9% less expensive and UAN28 is 8% lower. UAN32 is 4% less expensive and DAP is 1% less expensive.

Three fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. MAP is 1% more expensive, urea is 3% higher and potash is now 11% 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
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
Jun 19-23 2017 436 470 340 333
Jul 17-21 2017 435 464 339 309
Aug 14-18 2017 434 460 338 305
Sep 11-15 2017 431 456 336 310
Oct 9-13 2017 432 453 347 325
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Jun 19-23 2017 435 497 243 273
Jul 17-21 2017 425 425 229 265
Aug 14-18 2017 419 419 216 251
Sep 11-15 2017 416 412 210 248
Oct 9-13 2017 413 397 206 253

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

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Russ Quinn