DTN Fertilizer Trends: Prices Spike Over Last Month

    ©Debra L Ferguson

    Retail fertilizer prices are pushing considerably higher once again, according to prices tracked by DTN for the fourth week of September 2021.

    Five of the eight major fertilizers saw significant price increases, which DTN designates as 5% or higher, compared to last month.

    Leading the way was potash, which was 13% higher compared to last month. The fertilizer had an average price of $647/ton.

    Urea was 11% more expensive than the prior month. The nitrogen fertilizer had average price of $620/ton. It is the first time urea crossed the $600/ton threshold in nine years. The last time it was this expensive was the second week of September 2012 when the nutrient was $605/ton.

    Both UAN32 and MAP were 6% higher compared to last month. UAN32 had an average price of $444/ton while MAP was at $800/ton. MAP is now at $800/ton for the first time since the third week of December 2009, when the price was $802/ton. The current price of the phosphorus fertilizer is the fifth highest price in the history of the nearly 13-year-old DTN data.

    UAN28 is 5% more expensive compared to a month prior. The nitrogen fertilizer has an average price of $388/ton.

    The average price of DAP and anhydrous increased 4% to $722/ton and $782/ton respectively.

    10-34-0 cost $638/ton on average, only slightly higher than last month.

    On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.67/lb.N, anhydrous $0.48/lb.N, UAN28 $0.69/lb.N and UAN32 $0.69/lb.N.

    These record or near-record high retail fertilizer prices could be present through next spring. This was the conclusion of a recent North Dakota State University (NDSU) news release (here).

    Dave Franzen, NDSU Extension soil science specialist, said he expects fertilizer price to stay at these price levels or continue rising through next spring.

    “China has supplied about a third of the world’s phosphate and it has essentially banned exports through 2022,” Franzen said. “That puts the burden of supply on other countries, including the United States.” (For more, please read: here)

    The U.S. is not in a great position to expand mines and production due to environmental concerns, he said. This means fertilizer prices will continue to rise at least through 2022.

    Franzen recommends farmers consider soil sampling, use nitrogen calculators and consider whether fall nitrogen applications are wise. With phosphorus fertilizer, he suggests producers be more efficient when applying the fertilizer by working it into the soil or even applying the nutrient with a drill or air-seeder to limit the effects of water or wind movement.

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    “The most important strategy to use for potassium in North Dakota is to follow the NDSU recommendations for potassium for each crop, soil test by zone and use the North Dakota potassium calculator for corn to avoid any excessive and futile potassium application,” he said.

    Retail fertilizer prices compared to a year ago show all fertilizers have increased significantly.

    10-34-0 is now 40% more expensive, DAP is 64% higher, urea is 71% more expensive, MAP is 74% higher, UAN32 is 78% more expensive, UAN28 is 83% higher, anhydrous 84% is more expensive and potash is 92% higher compared to last year.

    DTN surveys more than 300 retailers, gathering roughly 1,700 fertilizer price bids, to compile the DTN Fertilizer Index each week. In addition to national averages, MyDTN subscribers can access the full DTN Fertilizer Index, which includes state averages, here.

    Higher natural gas prices in Europe have altered the profitability of fertilizer businesses. You can read it here.

    DRY
    Date Range DAP MAP POTASH UREA
    Sep 28-Oct 2 2020 439 459 338 362
    Oct 26-30 2020 448 477 332 358
    Nov 23-27 2020 456 495 337 359
    Dec 21-25 2020 474 535 365 363
    Jan 18-22 2021 493 563 379 387
    Feb 15-19 2021 600 648 404 457
    Mar 15-19 2021 616 693 424 496
    Apr 12-16 2021 624 702 432 509
    May 10-14 2021 631 702 437 515
    Jun 7-11 2021 656 717 450 527
    Jul 5-9 2021 690 729 491 549
    Aug 2-6 2021 695 755 557 556
    Aug 30-Sep 3 2021 697 756 571 557
    Sep 27-Oct 1 2021 722 800 647 620
    LIQUID
    Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
    Sep 28-Oct 2 2020 457 424 212 250
    Oct 26-30 2020 456 423 209 249
    Nov 23-27 2020 457 424 210 249
    Dec 21-25 2020 463 461 210 250
    Jan 18-22 2021 481 482 215 251
    Feb 15-19 2021 522 530 245 288
    Mar 15-19 2021 596 671 331 373
    Apr 12-16 2021 609 700 345 387
    May 10-14 2021 620 713 361 406
    Jun 7-11 2021 620 718 363 414
    Jul 5-9 2021 624 732 371 421
    Aug 2-6 2021 631 738 367 418
    Aug 30-Sep 3 2021 632 749 371 420
    Sep 27-Oct 1 2021 638 782 388 444

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

    Follow him on Twitter at @RussQuinnDTN

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