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DTN Fertilizer Trends: Prices Rising but Still Below 2016 Levels

Debra Ferguson
By Russ Quinn DTN Staff Reporter March 15, 2017

DTN Fertilizer Trends: Prices Rising but Still Below 2016 Levels

©Debra L Ferguson

Fertilizer prices were still on the rise the first week of March 2017, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN. This marks the seventh consecutive week prices have moved higher.   

 

For the third week in a row, all eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier, though none were up by a significant amount. This is the second consecutive week prices saw only slight increases.

DAP had an average price of $436 per ton, MAP $460/ton, potash $336/ton and urea $361/ton. 10-34-0 had an average price of $441/ton, anhydrous $503/ton, UAN28 $246/ton and UAN32 $279/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.39/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.44/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

Retail fertilizer prices have been on the rise in recent months, but prices are still lower than 2016 levels, an ag economist points out.

In a post from March 13 titled “2017 Fertilizer Prices Turn Higher — Still Lower than 2016” written by David Widmar on the Agricultural Economic Insight website, Widmar makes the case that even with the recent increase, crop farmers could still see fertilizer savings in the 2017 growing season.

Widmar said using the USDA AMS Illinois Production Cost report, anhydrous prices have jumped $41 per ton, or 8%, higher since the first week of January. Urea prices have also increased about $61 per ton, or 19% higher.

Prices for phosphorus (p) and potassium (k) have also shown some increases during this time, he writes.

“The prices of DAP has increased nearly 3% since January lows while potash has climbed 12% since August 2016,” Widmar wrote.

The uptick in urea prices relative to anhydrous prices has shifted the price ratio of these two products. Urea is 1.23 times (or 123%) the price of anhydrous, which is higher than the price ratio in the fall of 2016 (below 1.10) and is above the eight-year average of 1.20.

This change has made urea even more expensive than anhydrous on a per-unit of nitrogen basis. Widmar said producers should carefully consider their options and local prices as they finalize fertilizer decisions.

Even with increasing retail fertilizer prices, Widmar does point out prices are still below 2016. Using a 180-70-70 (pounds per acre) nutrient blend (anhydrous, DAP and potash), the author observes that the price for this blend in March 2017 is fairly inexpensive compared to past years.

“The current fertilizer expense for this rate is $100 per acre, $12 lower than in 2016 and the lowest of the last eight years,” he wrote. “In 2013, the same nutrient application would have cost $163 per acre.”

To read the entire report, go to http://ageconomists.com/….

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Only three of the eight major fertilizer are double digits lower.

10-34-0 is 22% lower from a year ago, UAN32 is 11% less expensive and potash is 10% less expensive. DAP is 9% less expensive, both MAP and anhydrous is 7% lower, UAN28 is 6% less expensive and urea is 5% compared to year earlier.

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 7-11 2016 477 494 372 378
Apr 4-8 2016 480 504 369 387
May 2-6 2016 475 502 366 385
May 30-June 3 2016 473 499 363 375
June 27-July 1 2016 468 495 358 365
July 25-29 2016 459 492 356 356
Aug 22-26 2016 451 468 330 330
Sept 19-23 2016 443 453 319 323
Oct 17-21 2016 436 452 313 317
Nov 14-18 2016 436 445 315 327
Dec 12-16 2016 433 443 320 333
Jan 9-13 2017 432 441 320 338
Feb 6-10 2017 431 448 330 354
Mar 03-10 2017 436 460 336 361
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Mar 7-11 2016 562 541 262 312
Apr 4-8 2016 561 586 272 315
May 2-6 2016 560 589 274 321
May 30-June 3 2016 559 579 268 313
June 27-July 1 2016 554 566 266 304
July 25-29 2016 543 545 257 304
Aug 22-26 2016 502 515 234 280
Sept 19-23 2016 470 494 225 271
Oct 17-21 2016 453 475 224 265
Nov 14-18 2016 445 466 219 256
Dec 12-16 2016 444 463 219 257
Jan 9-13 2017 437 467 222 258
Feb 6-10 2017 440 485 238 273
Mar 03-10 2017 441 503 246 279

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

Follow Russ Quinn on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

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Debra Ferguson
By Russ Quinn DTN Staff Reporter March 15, 2017