DTN Fertilizer Trends: Prices End Year Down Double Digits from 2015

    The collapse in fertilizer prices since 2014 should put an extra jingle in farm budgets next season. According to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the fourth week of December, all prices closed 2016 with double-digit reductions year-over-year. This marks the second year in a row of retail price declines for all major nutrients monitored by DTN.

    At year-end 2016, urea was 12% cheaper than a year earlier, DAP 13% less expensive, MAP 17% lower and potash 19% less expensive. UAN32 was 20% lower while both anhydrous and UAN28 were 21% less expensive and 10-34-0 was 23% lower compared to a year prior.

    The two-year price corrections are even more impressive. Compared to the last week of December 2014, fertilizer price adjustments ranged from a discount of 24% on DAP to 37% on urea.

    DAP averaged $431/ton at year-end 2016, MAP $443/ton, 10-34-0 $437/ton, UAN28 $217/ton and UAN32 $254/ton. Potash averaged $321/ton, urea $336/ton and anhydrous $466/ton. (In contrast, DTN’s national average price for anhydrous at the same time in 2014 was $706/ton.)

    On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price at year-end 2016 was $0.37/lb.N, anhydrous $0.28/lb.N, UAN28 $0.39/lb.N and UAN32 $0.40/lb.N.

    Those steep savings encouraged some growers to postpone 2017-crop fertilizer purchases, hopeful for the possibility of lower prices. However, other producers locked in part of their nutrient needs well before year end.

    Mike Cooprider, a corn and soybean farmer from Jasonville, Indiana, said he has most of his fertilizer needs for the 2017 crop already committed and has for some time now.

    “We locked in the plow down in the fall (phosphorus and potash) and the same price will carryover this spring,” Cooprider told DTN. “We also have locked in and have two-thirds of the anhydrous paid for.”

    Cooprider also said he pre-purchased fertilizer that will be applied in the row and pop-up fertilizer already as well. He applied P and K this fall in their river-bottom ground and then tilled that ground. The remaining P and K will be applied this spring.

    The early locking in of many input costs, such as seed costs and fertilizer, is something Cooprider normally tries to do. About the only input costs he still needs to purchase would be ag chemicals, which he said he was trying to figure out last week.

    “This year it just made more sense [to buy early] because of lower input costs,” he said. “Banks aren’t paying much interest [on savings accounts] anyway.”

    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
    Dec 28-Jan 1 2016 494 531 398 383
    Jan 25-29 2016 495 515 391 380
    Feb 22-26 2016 477 492 373 371
    Mar 21-25 2016 475 501 371 390
    Apr 18-22 2016 477 502 366 388
    May 16-20 2016 476 501 365 384
    June 13-17 2016 469 496 359 367
    July 11-15 2016 467 496 358 360
    Aug 8-12 2016 453 482 344 345
    Sept 5-9 2016 446 464 325 325
    Oct 3-7 2016 438 451 312 315
    Oct 31-Nov 4 2016 436 451 314 319
    Nov 28-Dec 2 2016 435 445 318 331
    Dec 26-30 2016 431 443 321 336
    LIQUID
    Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
    Dec 28-Jan 1 2016 570 590 273 317
    Jan 25-29 2016 571 569 271 317
    Feb 22-26 2016 566 536 260 309
    Mar 21-25 2016 561 569 276 312
    Apr 18-22 2016 561 588 274 322
    May 16-20 2016 558 588 274 321
    June 13-17 2016 555 566 266 305
    July 11-15 2016 538 547 266 306
    Aug 8-12 2016 528 522 249 299
    Sept 5-9 2016 478 502 228 274
    Oct 3-7 2016 454 472 224 263
    Oct 31-Nov 4 2016 452 471 244 262
    Nov 28-Dec 2 2016 447 465 217 256
    Dec 26-30 2016 437 466 217 254

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

    Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN




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