DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Prices of Three Fertilizers Reach Highest Level in Almost Two Years

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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UAN28 had an average retail price of $231 per ton the third week of February 2018, up about 2% from $226 the third week of January. The price of UAN28 is currently 4% below what it was one year ago. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Average retail fertilizer prices were slightly higher again the third week of February 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

All eight of the major fertilizer prices were up slightly compared to last month. DAP had an average price of $460 per ton, MAP $496/ton, potash $345/ton, urea $357/ton, 10-34-0 $416/ton, anhydrous $495/ton, UAN28 $231/ton and UAN32 $265/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 retail fertilizer prices climbing higher over the last four months, I thought it might be interesting to look back at our data and see when the last time was that the price for each fertilizer was at the level it is currently. For some fertilizers, it has been a while since prices have been this high. For others, it has been less than a year.

For three fertilizers, the retail price is now the highest it has been in almost two full years.

DAP and MAP haven't been at their current level since the third week of July 2016 and the second week of July 2016. Those weeks, the prices were $464 per ton and $496 per ton, respectively.

With MAP currently closing in on the $500-per-ton plateau, the last time this fertilizer was that price or higher was the fourth week of May 2016 when the price was at $501 per ton.

Potash is the other fertilizer that hasn't been at its current price level in quite some time. The first week of August 2016 was the last time potash reached its current level with an average price of $346 per ton.

An interesting thing with these three fertilizers is how quickly the price has moved in recent months. For DAP and MAP, there was a fairly steep rise from last November to now, with prices climbing about $35 to $40 per ton. The retail price of potash has also moved about $30 per ton higher, but at a much slower pace, beginning way back in October 2016.

The remaining five fertilizers have returned to levels they were at a year or less ago.

The last time urea was at its current prices was the second week of March 2017 when the price was at $360 per ton. 10-34-0 last reached its current price level the first week of September 2017 when it was at $418 per ton; anhydrous the third week of June 2017 when it was $497 per ton; UAN28 the second week of July 2017 when it was at $235 per ton; and UAN32 the fourth week of November 2017 when it was at $271 per ton.

Much like DAP and MAP, anhydrous prices rose fairly steeply in a short amount of time, with prices up about $100 per ton from October 2017. The difference is that, according to DTN data, the price of anhydrous has a history of being much more likely to move higher or lower more quickly than the prices of both DAP and MAP, whose price movements are more flat.

Anhydrous is rapidly approaching the $500-per-ton level once again. The last time it was at that level was the second week of June 2017, when the price was right at $500 per ton.

Despite also being nitrogen fertilizers, UAN28 and UAN32 have not seen as steep of price increases as anhydrous. In addition, while the price of 10-34-0 has also moved higher during this period, it is only up about $13 per ton from October 2017.

Following increases in recent months, the prices of four fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. Anhydrous is now 1% more expensive, potash is 4% higher, DAP is 6% more expensive and MAP is 10% higher than last year.

The remaining four fertilizers are still lower in price compared to a year prior. Urea is 1% less expensive while both UAN28 and UAN32 is 4% lower and 10-34-0 is 6% less expensive than a year ago.

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
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
Feb 19-23 2018 460 496 345 357
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Feb 19-23 2018 416 495 231 265

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

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(AG/CZ)

Russ Quinn