DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

Fertilizer Prices Higher for Fourth Straight Week

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Retail UAN28 prices increased 7% from last month. The national average price is $267/ton, up $18 from last month. Prices are 22% higher than at the same time last year. (DTN Chart)

OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices continue to move higher with nitrogen fertilizers leading the way, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the last week of 2018. This marks the fourth consecutive week most fertilizers' prices were considerably more expensive.

The prices of seven of the eight major fertilizers are higher. Two fertilizers have significantly higher prices, which DTN defines as prices moves of more than 5%.

Anhydrous prices are 9% higher than last month with an average price of $571/ton. That's a gain of $47/ton.

UAN28 prices increased 7% from the prior month, a gain of $18/ton, with an average price was $267/ton.

Five other fertilizers' prices were slightly higher. DAP had an average price of $508/ton, up $7/ton; MAP $533/ton, up $4/ton; potash $381/ton, up $12/ton; 10-34-0 $460/ton, up $3/ton; and UAN32 $304/ton, up $11/ton.

One fertilizer was slightly lower in price compared to last month. The average urea price declined $3/ton to $407/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.35/lb.N, UAN28 $0.48/lb.N and UAN32 $0.47/lb.N.

One thing I periodically like to do with this column is review what various crop budgets list for fertilizer expenses and compare back to the previous year's costs. With retail prices on the rise in recent years, the crop budgets from several land grant universities also show higher fertilizer cost.

The University of Illinois Extension released its 2019 crop budgets in September 2018. The budgets have five different crop systems divided into four regions of the state: northern Illinois, central Illinois high productivity farmland, central Illinois low productivity farmland and southern Illinois.

Northern Illinois has a 2019 fertilizer cost of $135/acre in a corn and soybean rotation and $145/acre in a corn-on-corn situation. In 2018, these costs were at $120/acre and $130/acre respectively, a $15/acre increase in both cropping situations.

Fertilizer costs for central Illinois high productivity farmland in 2019 are estimated $145/acre and $155/acre in the same cropping systems. In 2018, the costs were $129/acre and $139/acre, $16/acre more in both situations.

In southern Illinois, 2019 fertilizer costs are set at $134/acre and $144/acre, while in 2018 they were at $113/acre and $123/acre. This would be a $21/acre increase in fertilizer costs from one year to the next.

Purdue University released its crop budgets in December. It also includes five different crop systems, which are divided up into low, average and high productivity soils.

The 2019 report has the highest fertilizer cost at $146/acre in continuous corn with high productivity soils. Last year, the same cropping system in the same soil put costs at $119/acre, an increase of $27/acre.

Rotating crops and planting corn in average productivity soils for the 2019 growing season had a fertilizer cost of $126/acre. In 2018 the fertilizer cost was $103/acre, an increase of $24/acre.

The thing to keep in mind with these crop budgets is they were completed before the most recent retail fertilizer price spike. Some universities will update crop budgets in the spring, and it will be interesting to see if the fertilizer costs in these budgets are even higher than fall estimates.

The University of Illinois 2019 crop budget can be found at http://farmdoc.illinois.edu/…

The 2019 Purdue University Crop Cost and Return Guide can be found at:

https://ag.purdue.edu/…

All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year. MAP is 9% more expensive, potash is 10% higher, DAP is 12% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 13% higher, urea is 16% more expensive, UAN32 is 19% higher, anhydrous is 20% more expensive and UAN28 is now 22% higher compared to last 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.

DRY
Date Range DAP MAP POTASH UREA
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
May 21-25 2018 483 504 354 364
Jun 18-22 2018 485 505 354 364
Jul 16-20 2018 486 505 354 366
Aug 13-17 2018 487 508 356 363
Sep 10-14 2018 491 518 362 380
Oct 8-12 2018 501 523 365 393
Nov 5-9 2018 506 529 368 407
Dec 3-7 2018 501 529 369 410
Dec 31-Jan 4 2019 508 533 381 407
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
May 21-25 2018 439 504 241 276
Jun 18-22 2018 440 503 242 277
Jul 16-20 2018 442 503 243 279
Aug 13-17 2018 446 481 233 271
Sep 10-14 2018 449 487 238 278
Oct 8-12 2018 452 488 238 280
Nov 5-9 2018 458 517 245 287
Dec 3-7 2018 457 524 249 293
Dec 31-Jan 4 2019 460 571 267 304

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

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

(KD/CZ)

Russ Quinn