Fertilizers Close Year With a Bang

Fertilizers Close Year With a Bang

OMAHA (DTN) — 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
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2017-01-06T18:26:38+00:00