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DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Fertilizer prices continue to erode, but the pace of decline slowed, according to retailers tracked by DTN for the second week of September 2019. It’s the fifth consecutive week that the price of all eight fertilizers fell.

One difference, however, is that only one price dropped significantly, which DTN considers a price change of 5% or more.

The price of anhydrous was down 5% from last month’s price at $516/ton, a $27 decline.

MAP prices dropped 4%, to $482/ton, a decline of $21/ton.

The remaining six fertilizers were all lower in price than last month, but their moves were fairly slight. DAP had an average price of $486/ton, down $7; potash $385, down $2; urea $407/ton, down $6; 10-34-0 $471/ton, down $4; UAN28 $253/ton, down $5; and UAN32 $289/ton, down $6.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.45/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.

With lower retail fertilizer prices now in place, it seems logical to assume farmers would be willing to apply more nutrients. However, several farmers who spoke with DTN said they didn’t change their plans when prices went up, and they won’t change them now that prices are headed back down.

Joel Grams, who farms near Minden, Nebraska, said he really didn’t alter his nutrient application plan much in recent years despite higher fertilizer prices. The south-central Nebraska farmer puts on about half of his nitrogen through the center-pivot irrigation system, so he utilizes more liquid nitrogen than anhydrous.

"We still try to get fertilizer paid for early and hopefully get to take advantage of prices before they go back up, which I’m sure they will," Grams told DTN.

On the other side of the Corn Belt, Mike Cooprider is in no hurry to lock in fertilizer as the 2019 growing season comes to an end. The Howesville, Indiana, farmer said he will be holding off buying fertilizer until after harvest begins.

"I don’t think prices will go higher," Cooprider said. "We will pay as we go."

Cooprider plans to work some ground after harvest and apply some manure and fertilizer. Depending on what soil tests say as well as what kind of yields are seen this fall, he will probably put down fertilizer at roughly the rate of what is removed this year, he said.

With prices significantly lower in recent weeks, the price of two fertilizers fell below last year’s prices. MAP is now 7% less expensive and DAP is 1% lower from last year at this time.

The remaining six major fertilizers continue to be higher compared to last year. UAN32 is 4% more expensive; 10-34-0 is 5% higher; potash, anhydrous and UAN28 are all 6% more expensive; and urea is 7% 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.

Sep 10-14 2018491518362380
Oct 8-12 2018501523365393
Nov 5-9 2018506529368407
Dec 3-7 2018501529369410
Dec 31-Jan 4 2019508533381407
Jan 28-Feb 1 2019513536384407
Feb 25-Mar 01 2019511535386404
Mar 25-29 2019509534385401
Apr 22-26 2019497530388408
May 20-24 2019497527392428
Jun 17-21 2019496532392435
Jul 15-19, 2019497532392430
Aug 12-16 2019493503387413
Sep 9-13 2019486482385407
Date Range10-34-0ANHYDUAN28UAN32
Sep 10-14 2018449487238278
Oct 8-12 2018452488238280
Nov 5-9 2018458517245287
Dec 3-7 2018457524249293
Dec 31-Jan 4 2019460571267304
Jan 28-Feb 1 2019468585271313
Feb 25-Mar 01 2019470596270318
Mar 25-29 2019470597269318
Apr 22-26 2019483594268315
May 20-24 2019487595270314
Jun 17-21 2019487589270318
Jul 15-19, 2019485585275317
Aug 12-16 2019475543258295
Sep 9-13 2019471516253289

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

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN