DTN Fertilizer: Farmer Poll – 45% Plan Spring Applications, Not Fall

Dry fertilizer spreader. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Retail fertilizer prices continue to move higher slowly, according to prices tracked by DTN for the second week of October 2018. For the fifth week in a row, all eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier.

None of the eight, however, were up a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $501/ton, MAP $523/ton, potash $365/ton, urea $393/ton, 10-34-0 $452/ton, anhydrous $488/ton, UAN28 $238/ton and UAN32 $280/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.43/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

A recent DTN 360 Poll asked farmers: “With the fall fertilizer application season rapidly approaching, what best describes your fall fertilizer application season plan?”

The poll received nearly 400 responses between Sept. 14 and Oct. 15.

  • 45% chose “I do not plan to apply fertilizer this fall as I apply everything in the spring.”
  • 27% picked “I plan on applying fertilizer this fall and I have locked in some of my fertilizer prices.
  • 21% responded “I plan on applying fertilizer this fall but have not yet locked in fertilizer prices.”
  • 6% said “I plan on applying fertilizer this fall and will not be locking in fertilizer prices.”

DTN asked a similar question last fall at the same time: “With harvest rapidly approaching, fall fertilizer application is also not that far away. What best describes to how you are handling fertilizer purchases for fall application?”

  • 52% of respondents said “Will not per-order fertilizer at all for fall application.”
  • 29% chose “Will purchase fertilizer within the next month for fall application.” —
  • 12% said “Pre-ordered fertilizer within the last month for fall application”
  • 7% responded with “Pre-ordered fertilizer months ago for fall application.”

Even though the questions weren’t worded the same, they yield an interesting comparison. When you combine the answers about pre-ordering fertilizer, 48% of respondents locked in fertilizer prices ahead of application last year, while this year, only 27% did so.

Several factors could be driving this divergence. It’s been a wet, slow harvest across a wide swath of the Corn Belt this year, and some farmers may run out of time to apply fertilizer this fall.

Another possibility: higher prices. Compared to last year, the retail price of all eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN are higher, with urea and anhydrous leading the way at 21% and 23% more expensive, respectively. Potash is 5% higher, 10-34-0 and UAN32 are both 10% more expensive, while UAN28, DAP and MAP are all 16% higher.

DTN would like to know: Are you pre-pricing fertilizer this year? Why or why not? Are your concerns primarily around the expense, the last harvest season or uncertainty about what you plan to grow next year?

Please send responses to: talk@dtn.com

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
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
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
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
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

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

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

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