DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Retail fertilizer prices continued rise, albeit fairly slowly, the fourth week of February 2015, according to fertilizer retailers tracked by DTN.

Six of the eight major fertilizers edged higher compared to a month earlier, but none of the six were up by any consequence. MAP averaged $597 per ton, potash $488/ton and urea $472/ton. 10-34-0 had an average price of $598/ton, UAN28 $330/ton and UAN32 $370/ton.

One fertilizer price — anhydrous — slipped compared to a month ago. The nitrogen fertilizer averaged $706 per ton.

The remaining fertilizer, DAP, was unchanged from the previous month. The phosphorus fertilizer had an average price of $568/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.51/lb.N, anhydrous $0.43/lb.N, UAN28 $0.59/lb.N and UAN32 $0.58/lb.N.

Farmers in northeastern Wisconsin are probably glad for a quiet winter after last year, Andy Barta, assistant manager of the Rio Creek Feed Mill in Algoma, Wis., told DTN. Among the issues the region faced last year was limited availability of fertilizer during the winter as well as one of the wettest growing seasons on record which delayed all crops.

So far in 2015, Mother Nature has cooperated with a fairly dry winter with limited snowfall. In addition, the fertilizer gods have been smiling down on Northern Plains fertilizer retailers and farmers as fertilizer availability is considerably improved from a year earlier.

"We haven’t had an issues getting fertilizer in like we did last winter at this time," Barta told DTN. "I could get urea, DAP or liquid in here right away with no problems this year."

One fertilizer that Barta and other fertilizer retailers might have trouble getting enough of this spring might be 10-34-0. Issues with an acid shortage are making the starter fertilizer hard to source, especially for those who did not pre-order their fertilizer needs.

Barta said he doesn’t sell much 10-34-0 in his region, as many farmers will go with a 6-24-6 as a starter fertilizer. This is because manure from the region’s many dairies has been applied on this same soil, and the young corn plants live off the nutrients in the soil provided by the manure, he said.

As for fertilizer price, Barta doesn’t believe retail fertilizers will move much from now until spring. If prices do move higher, farmers in his region may start pulling back on applying fertilizer.

"I don’t think fertilizer can afford to add much to the price," he said. "If we add another $20/ton or so to price, I think many farmers may really decide to start cutting back on fertilizer."

Two of the eight major fertilizers are now double digits higher in price compared to February 2014, all while commodity prices are significantly lower than a year ago. 10-34-0 is 17% higher while anhydrous is 14% more expensive compared to a year earlier.

MAP is 7% higher, DAP is 5% more expensive and potash is 3% more expensive compared to the same period in 2014.

Three nutrients are now lower compared to retail prices from a year ago. UAN28 is down 3% while UAN32 is now 4% less expensive and urea is 10% less expensive from a year previous.

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 November 2008 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 24-28 2014 542 561 473 522
Mar 24-28 2014 574 595 475 542
Apr 21-25 2014 587 620 476 555
May 19-23 2014 595 631 480 553
June 16-20 2014 596 629 483 535
July 14-18 2014 590 618 483 531
Aug 11-15 2014 589 609 474 517
Sept 8-12 2014 581 589 475 516
Oct 6-10 2014 581 600 478 509
Nov 3-7 2014 579 598 480 500
Dec 1-5 2014 573 592 481 485
Dec 29-Jan 2 2015 565 593 486 462
Jan 26-30 2015 568 597 487 472
Feb 23-27 2015 568 597 488 472
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Feb 24-28 2014 510 621 342 387
Mar 24-28 2014 514 633 349 394
Apr 21-25 2014 530 692 355 402
May 19-23 2014 556 698 355 407
June 16-20 2014 562 699 355 403
July 14-18 2014 557 684 348 400
Aug 11-15 2014 555 687 337 379
Sept 8-12 2014 554 681 330 377
Oct 6-10 2014 556 697 327 373
Nov 3-7 2014 559 705 324 369
Dec 1-5 2014 568 714 323 368
Dec 29-Jan 2 2015 576 707 322 353
Jan 26-30 2015 585 707 326 367
Feb 23-27 2015 598 706 330 370

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

(MZT/AG)