DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Retail Fertilizer Prices Continue Upward Trend

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
Connect with Russ:
For the first time in several weeks, one fertilizer was actually slightly lower in price compared to last month. Potash had an average price of $344 per ton, down just 0.2% from the previous month. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Average retail fertilizer prices continued to trend higher the fourth week of January 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Prices for all but one of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier. Once again leading the way to the high side was anhydrous, which was 5% higher compared to the previous month. The nitrogen had an average price of $490 per ton.

The remaining six fertilizers that were higher saw only slight price gains. DAP had an average price of $458 per ton, MAP $492/ton, urea $353/ton, 10-34-0 $415/ton, UAN28 $226/ton and UAN32 $261/ton.

For the first time in several weeks, one fertilizer was actually slightly lower in price compared to last month. Potash had an average price of $344 per ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.38/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, will farmers alter how they apply fertilizer in the 2018 growing season? Will they apply less fertilizer, change different forms of fertilizer, or maybe even change crops to limit the need for nutrients?

Jason Scott, who farms near Burrows, Indiana, told DTN he didn't think higher retail fertilizer prices would affect too many farmers' fertilizer plans in his north-central Indiana region. Most already have some fertilizer applied, he said.

Quite a bit of fertilizer, both dry and anhydrous, was applied this fall and into winter, he said. Scott was able to get anhydrous applied in mid-December thanks to cooperative weather.

"We got the dry put down in the fall, and then the weather was so nice in December there we put on anhydrous, something we don't do very often around here," Scott said.

Scott checked with his local fertilizer retailer and found out the anhydrous price at that time was around $420 per ton and the spring price was set closer to $515 per ton, almost $100 per ton more. That was why he decided to apply in December instead of waiting until the spring, he said.

In the fall, he applied both potash and MAP, buying potash for $300/ton and MAP for $405/ton. He said he will come back with spring nitrogen pre-plant and sidedressing with 28%, which he already purchased for $200/ton.

While fertilizer prices have been moving higher over the last couple of months, Scott said whatever the commodity market does will have the biggest effect on fertilizer prices. Higher commodity prices could push fertilizer prices upward, while lower commodity prices could push fertilizer lower as well.

"They usually move together," he said.

All but three fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Both urea and anhydrous are now 2% higher, while both DAP and potash are 7% 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 5% 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 23-27 2017 429 443 322 347
Feb 20-24 2017 433 452 332 359
Mar 20-24 2017 438 464 338 356
Apr 17-21 2017 438 466 339 352
May 15-19 2017 437 471 340 350
Jun 12-16 2017 437 470 341 338
Jul 10-14 2017 436 467 340 321
Aug 7-11 2017 434 462 339 311
Sep 4-8 2017 431 458 338 302
Oct 2-6 2017 425 453 348 323
Oct 27-Nov 3 2017 434 455 348 330
Nov 27-Dec 1 2017 435 460 342 340
Dec 25-29 2017 448 488 344 348
Jan 22-26 2018 458 492 344 353
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Jan 23-27 2017 436 480 235 268
Feb 20-24 2017 440 490 241 276
Mar 20-24 2017 441 507 248 280
Apr 17-21 2017 437 509 247 280
May 15-19 2017 436 510 248 283
Jun 12-16 2017 435 500 246 278
Jul 10-14 2017 431 451 235 268
Aug 7-11 2017 440 419 224 258
Sep 4-8 2017 418 413 215 248
Oct 2-6 2017 413 399 208 243
Oct 27-Nov 3 2017 405 401 208 262
Nov 27-Dec 1 2017 403 417 216 271
Dec 25-29 2017 407 468 216 254
Jan 22-26 2018 415 490 226 261

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

Follow Russ Quinn on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

(AG/BAS)

Russ Quinn