DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Even More Lower Fertilizer Prices

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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The average retail price of MAP the fourth week of April 2018 was $504 per ton, down from $506 per ton the fourth week of March 2018. (DTN chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Prices for most retail fertilizers continued to inch higher the fourth week of April 2018. But for a growing number of fertilizers, prices were down from last month, according to retailers surveyed by DTN.

Last week was the first time multiple fertilizers had lower prices in several months. This week, three of the eight major fertilizers were lower in price compared to the previous month. MAP, urea and anhydrous were all slightly lower. MAP had an average price of $504 per ton, urea $367/ton and anhydrous $507/ton.

The remaining five fertilizers saw minor price increases from last month. DAP had an average price of $485 per ton, potash $353/ton, 10-34-0 $431/ton, UAN28 $241/ton and UAN32 $277/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.40/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.43/lb.N.

With farmers finally able to begin fieldwork in many Corn Belt locations, the topic of nitrogen fertilizer application is a timely one. The April 19 edition of the e-newsletter CropWatch from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) featured an article by several UNL soil specialists titled "Nitrogen Fertilizer Stabilizers in Corn."

UNL researchers have done several different short- and long-term studies on the effectiveness of nitrogen fertilizer stabilizers.

In a 28-year study near Clay Center (in south-central Nebraska), the nitrification inhibitor (NI) nitrapyrin was evaluated along with spring-applied anhydrous on a silt loam soil. A positive yield response was observed 36% of the time. However, a negative yield response was observed 18% of the time with the remaining 46% having no effect on yield.

Urease inhibitors (UI) have also been tested in central Nebraska for the last three years. Urea or urea-ammonium was surface-applied near corn planting time with and without UI.

In all years, using UI decreased potential ammonia volatilization losses from 3.6 to 13.3 pounds of nitrogen per acre less than fertilizer alone. This meant 3%-to-7% of applied N was not lost, according to the article.

Slow-release coated fertilizers were also studied by UNL researchers. A three-year study was conducted in south-central Nebraska in coarse-textured soils to demonstrate the benefit of using poly-coated urea.

This product consistently improved corn yield compared to UAN at various rates of application. Averaged across nitrogen rates, corn yield with the poly-coated urea was greater than UAN by 49%.

"Nitrogen fertilizer stabilizer use will only have a positive impact on yield if weather conditions are conducive to nitrogen losses to the point of nitrogen becoming limiting in relation to crop demand," the article concludes.

For the complete UNL CropWatch article, visit https://cropwatch.unl.edu/….

Half of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices pushing higher in recent months. Both potash and urea are now 4% higher, MAP is 8% more expensive and DAP is 11% higher compared to last year.

The remaining four fertilizers are lower in price compared to a year prior. 10-34-0, anhydrous and UAN32 are all 1% lower, while UAN28 is 3% 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
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
Feb 26-Mar 2 2018 461 497 346 361
Mar 26-30 2018 470 506 350 370
Apr 23-27 2018 485 504 353 367
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Feb 26-Mar 2 2018 416 496 233 279
Mar 26-30 2018 425 507 237 272
Apr 23-27 2018 431 507 241 277

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

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(AG/BE)

Russ Quinn