DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Retail Fertilizer Prices Continue to Push Higher

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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The average retail price of MAP was $491 per ton the third week of January 2018, up 1% from $485 per ton the third week of December 2017. MAP is currently 11% more expensive than it was a year ago. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- For the third week in a row, average retail prices for all eight major fertilizers were higher the third week of January 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Though prices for all fertilizers were higher, the price of only one fertilizer was up by a noteworthy amount. Anhydrous was up 5% compared to a month prior and had an average price of $485 per ton.

Prices for the remaining seven fertilizers were up just slightly. DAP had an average price of $456 per ton, MAP $491/ton, potash $345/ton, urea $355/ton, 10-34-0 $407/ton, UAN28 $226/ton and UAN32 $260/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.40/lb.N and UAN32 $0.41/lb.N.

With the higher retail fertilizer prices being seen in the last few months, it is valid to wonder whether farmers will alter how they apply fertilizer in the 2018 growing season. Will they apply less fertilizer, change to different forms of fertilizer, or maybe even change crops to limit the need for nutrients?

Jeremy Flikkema, who farms near Lanark in northwestern Illinois, told DTN he was fortunate to get most of his fertilizer applied last fall thanks to a wide application window after harvest was completed.

"We got most of our anhydrous put on this fall; we don't have a lot to do for the spring," Flikkema said. "We also got a lot of our dry (fertilizer) put on as well."

Flikkema said that he did book some anhydrous after the price increase for application in the spring with his first-pass herbicide application. He said if fertilizer prices stay high, he would consider shifting some acres away from corn to soybeans. As a result, he would back off on dry fertilizer applications on maybe 5% to 10% of total acres, he estimated.

Mike Carlson, who farms near Red Oak, Iowa, also said higher fertilizer prices will have little effect on his farming operation, as he was able to apply most of his fertilizer needs last fall before prices began to rise.

"Almost all of my fertilizer has been applied, so my price is locked in," Carlson told DTN.

Carlson will come back in the spring and apply some liquid nitrogen with the first herbicide application, but this nitrogen has been pre-paid. Most farmers in his region of southwestern Iowa took advantage of the cooperative fall weather to apply at least some of their fertilizer needs, and Carlson said he doesn't believe farmers in his area will alter crop rotations much.

All but three fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Anhydrous is 2% higher, urea is 3% more expensive, both DAP and potash are 6% higher and MAP is 11% more expensive.

Three fertilizers are still lower in price compared to a year prior. UAN32 is 3% lower while UAN28 is 4%, and 10-34-0 is 7% less expensive looking back a year.

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 16-20 2017 430 443 324 346
Feb 13-17 2017 432 450 332 357
Mar 13-17 2017 443 462 337 360
Apr 10-13 2017 437 466 338 353
May 8-12 2017 437 466 340 351
Jun 5-9 2017 438 469 339 338
Jul 3-7 2017 436 467 339 325
Jul 31-Aug 4 2017 434 463 339 311
Aug 28-Sept 1 2017 433 457 338 303
Sep 15-29 2017 432 453 348 321
Oct 23-27 2017 431 453 347 325
Nov 20-24 2017 435 460 342 338
Dec 18-22 2017 445 485 344 348
Jan 15-19 2018 456 491 345 355
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Jan 16-20 2017 437 478 235 267
Feb 13-17 2017 440 491 240 276
Mar 13-17 2017 441 507 247 280
Apr 10-13 2017 441 505 247 280
May 8-12 2017 437 508 247 280
Jun 5-9 2017 435 503 246 278
Jul 3-7 2017 432 462 236 268
Jul 31-Aug 4 2017 426 418 227 262
Aug 28-Sept 1 2017 418 417 215 248
Sep 15-29 2017 413 396 208 243
Oct 23-27 2017 407 393 205 262
Nov 20-24 2017 403 410 216 272
Dec 18-22 2017 405 461 218 254
Jan 15-19 2018 407 485 226 260

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

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(AG/BAS)

Russ Quinn