DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Prices Still on High Side

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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UAN32 had an average retail price of $272 the first week of March 2018, up 4% from $261 the first week of February. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- The trend of higher fertilizer prices appears to be firmly entrenched with average retail prices for all fertilizers rising again the first week of March 2018, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

As has been the case the past several weeks, all eight of the major fertilizers were up from last month, though only one fertilizer was up a significant amount. UAN32 was 4% more expensive than compared to a month earlier. The nitrogen fertilizer had an average price of $272 per ton.

The remaining seven fertilizers were just slightly higher in price compared to the prior month. DAP had an average price of $463/ton, MAP $503/ton, potash $349/ton, urea $367/ton, 10-34-0 $422/ton, anhydrous $499/ton and UAN28 $234/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.42/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

In a post from March 12 titled "2018 Fertilizer Prices Turn Higher" on the Agricultural Economic Insights electronic newsletter, author David Widmar examined what retail fertilizer prices have done since October 2017. At that time, Widmar wrote, it looked like lower fertilizer prices could linger into 2018. Instead, prices have steadily increased, he said.

One interesting item that Widmar discovered while looking at USDA's reported fertilizer prices from Illinois was that not all nitrogen prices increased uniformly since last fall.

"Specifically, anhydrous ammonia and liquid (28%) forms of nitrogen are lower (-3% and -4%) while urea prices are 4% higher," Widmar wrote.

Widmar also reported that phosphorous and potash prices were higher compared to last spring. DAP was 10% higher while potash prices are 6% higher.

Short of locking prices before they began to rise or applying fertilizer last fall, this recent run-up in retail fertilizer prices will end up costing farmers in their fertilizer budgets.

Widmar charted corn fertilizer expenses from the Illinois prices at a rate of 180-70-70 (nitrogen, phosphorus, potash) pounds per acre. Fertilizer expense climbed to $160 per acre in 2011, 2012 and 2013 before the downward trend in recent years. The assumed corn fertilizer application rate cost $101 per acre in spring 2017 and will be $103 per acre in 2018, up from $89 per acre last fall.

"While fertilizer have turned higher, it is worth noting just how much of a decline has occurred," Widmar wrote. "Fertilizer expense has fallen from $162 per acre in 2013 to $103 per acre in 2018. This is a significant, $59-per-acre decline (or 35% lower) in fertilizer expenses."

To read the entire Agricultural Economic Insight report, go to https://ageconomists.com/….

Four fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. UAN32 is now 1% more expensive, potash is 3% higher, DAP is 6% more expensive and MAP is 9% higher than last year.

The remaining four fertilizers are still lower in price compared to a year prior. Both anhydrous and urea is now 1% less than, while both UAN28 and UAN32 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
Mar 03-10 2017 436 460 336 361
Apr 3-7 2017 438 466 338 354
May 1-5 2017 436 466 339 351
May 29-Jun 2 2017 436 471 340 339
Jun 26-30 2017 437 470 340 333
Jul 24-28 2017 434 462 338 308
Aug 21-25 2017 434 458 338 304
Sep 18-22 2017 429 452 345 312
Oct 16-20 2017 432 452 348 340
Nov 13-17 2017 435 459 342 339
Dec 11-15 2017 439 479 343 340
Jan 8-12 2018 456 491 346 352
Feb 5-9 2018 458 493 344 355
Mar 5-9 2018 463 503 349 367
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Mar 03-10 2017 441 503 246 279
Apr 3-7 2017 441 505 248 280
May 1-5 2017 436 508 247 280
May 29-Jun 2 2017 436 503 248 280
Jun 26-30 2017 435 484 238 268
Jul 24-28 2017 425 423 229 265
Aug 21-25 2017 419 417 216 248
Sep 18-22 2017 416 402 211 248
Oct 16-20 2017 413 397 205 262
Nov 13-17 2017 403 410 216 272
Dec 11-15 2017 403 434 218 256
Jan 8-12 2018 410 479 220 258
Feb 5-9 2018 415 492 227 261
Mar 5-9 2018 422 499 234 272

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

Follow Russ Quinn on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

(BAS/AG)

Russ Quinn