DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Retail Fertilizer Price Moves Stuck on Replay

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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The average retail price of urea was $355 per ton the last week of January 2018, up about 1.4% from $350 the last week of December 2017. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- The retail fertilizer market appears to be stuck on replay, as average prices for most fertilizers moved higher again the last week of January 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

All but one of the eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier. One difference from previous weeks was that anhydrous was not significantly higher (5% or more) as it has been for the last eight consecutive weeks.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers were slightly higher than a month ago. DAP had an average price of $458 per ton, MAP $492/ton, urea $355/ton, 10-34-0 $415/ton, anhydrous $491/ton, UAN28 $227/ton and UAN32 $261/ton.

One fertilizer was actually slightly lower for the second week in a row compared to the previous month. Potash had an average price of $344 per ton.

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

With higher retail fertilizer prices in the last few months, DTN has been asking farmers if this 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?

Tim Malterer has adjusted his fertility plan in recent years. The Janesville, Minnesota, farmer/agronomist has gone to a plan of applying an additional percentage of fertilizer above the amount needed to reach a certain yield goal in an attempt to slowly build fertility.

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"On some fields, I have good yield history, and those I use zone to help manage where I put fertilizer," Malterer told DTN. "On others, I don't (have a good yield history), so I'm taking the average and applying above that level."

In addition, he also has some fields to which he can apply hog manure. He will apply in a way to manage the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potash (K) in the manure, as he can't change the manure analysis.

Like many farmers last fall, Malterer was able to apply some fertilizer after harvest before retail prices started to rise. He already locked in the fertilizer he will apply in the spring in December and January.

"I have also been looking closer at the micros and additives and squeezing the data we get off our farm to make sure that what I'm applying is giving me a positive return on investment (ROI)," Malterer said.

All but three fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Urea is 1% higher, anhydrous is now 2% more expensive, potash is 5% higher, DAP is 7% more expensive and MAP is 10% higher than last year.

Three fertilizers are still lower in price compared to a year prior. UAN32 is 3% lower while UAN28 is 4% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 5% lower 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 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
Nov 6-10 2017 434 459 341 338
Dec 4-8 2017 438 471 343 344
Jan 1-5 2018 452 490 345 350
Jan 29-Feb 2 2018 458 492 344 355
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Nov 6-10 2017 403 409 216 272
Dec 4-8 2017 404 424 215 251
Jan 1-5 2018 409 474 219 256
Jan 29-Feb 2 2018 415 491 227 261

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

Follow Russ Quinn on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

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Russ Quinn