Retail fertilizer prices continued to rise the last week of March 2021, according to sellers surveyed by DTN. But for the first time in many weeks, some fertilizers moved just slightly higher instead of considerably higher.
While all eight of the major fertilizer were again higher, only five fertilizers moved significantly higher, which DTN designates as 5% or more.
Continuing to lead the way to the high side was UAN28, which was again up 34% from last month and had an average price of $340 per ton. UAN32 was 24% more expensive compared to the prior month and had an average price of $377/ton.
Anhydrous was up 22% compared to last month and had an average price of $685/ton; 10-34-0 was 7% higher compared to the prior month and had average price of $599/ton.
Urea was 6% more expensive than the prior month and had an average price of $502/ton. Urea was above the $500/ton level for the first time since the first week of November 2014 when the price was at $500/ton.
The remaining three fertilizers were higher again, but these fertilizers saw just slight price increases.
MAP had an average price of $697/ton, potash at $429/ton and DAP $618/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.55/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.61/lb.N and UAN32 $0.59/lb.N.
Higher retail fertilizer prices are naturally on farmers’ mind right now and rightful so. In a Minnesota Crop News article from March 30 titled “Why Corn Growers Shouldn’t Overreact to Rising Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices,” author and Extension educator Brad Carlson wrote that these prices have growers wondering if they should adjust their nitrogen fertility plan for the 2021 growing season.
Carlson believes the short answer is — probably not. He points to the Maximum Return to Nitrogen (MRTN) method of figuring the appropriate N rates for corn. The price ratio of the MRTN is a simple calculation of the current cost of N fertilizer (per pound) divided by the price of corn.
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If, for example, N is $0.25 per pound and corn is $2.50 per bushel (bu), the price ratio is 0.10. If the price of N is $0.25 and corn is $5, the price ratio is 0.05.
“If the price of N is $0.50/lbs. and corn is $5/bu, the price ratio is 0.10, meaning the rate suggestions are the same as they were at $0.25/lbs. of N and the corn price of $2.50/bu.,” Carlson wrote.
It is important to put the current situation in context with what has happened in the past, considering the rapid increase in fertilizer price. A closer look reveals the current ration of N price to corn price is in line with the historical relationship, he said.
If growers are following the guidelines for the 0.10 price ratio, there is little justification for modifying N rates due to the recent spike in retail fertilizer prices. Carlson did add if someone was applying a significantly higher N rate than the MRTN, this would be a good time to dial back the N application and save some money this growing season.
With retail fertilizer prices moving higher over recent months, all fertilizers are now higher in price from a year ago.
Potash is now 16% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 28% higher, urea is 31% more expensive, UAN32 36% higher, anhydrous is 39% more expensive, UAN28 is 44% higher, DAP is 52% more expensive and MAP 61% is 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.
|Mar 30-Apr 3 2020||408||432||370||383|
|Apr 27-May 1 2020||413||433||370||386|
|May 25-29 2020||410||434||365||377|
|Jun 22-26 2020||404||429||363||359|
|Jul 20-24, 2020||407||428||360||358|
|Aug 17-21 2020||427||434||353||356|
|Sep 14-18 2020||434||448||344||360|
|Oct 12-16 2020||445||475||332||359|
|Nov 9-13 2020||454||486||333||358|
|Dec 7-11 2020||456||510||348||361|
|Jan 4-8 2021||482||543||369||368|
|Feb 1-5 2021||554||601||389||429|
|Mar 1-5 2021||609||673||416||474|
|Mar 29-Apr 2 2021||618||697||429||502|
|Mar 30-Apr 3 2020||467||492||235||278|
|Apr 27-May 1 2020||468||492||237||279|
|May 25-29 2020||468||478||236||279|
|Jun 22-26 2020||468||463||233||273|
|Jul 20-24, 2020||466||460||225||263|
|Aug 17-21 2020||465||445||220||259|
|Sep 14-18 2020||455||431||219||253|
|Oct 12-16 2020||457||424||209||249|
|Nov 9-13 2020||455||422||208||248|
|Dec 7-11 2020||464||429||210||252|
|Jan 4-8 2021||464||470||209||251|
|Feb 1-5 2021||502||507||239||272|
|Mar 1-5 2021||560||560||254||304|
|Mar 29-Apr 2 2021||599||685||340||377|
Russ Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN