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DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 11:06AM CDT

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- Not much movement is being seen in retail fertilizer prices with bids continuing to trade in a narrow range for the third straight week, according to DTN's latest retail fertilizer survey.

Four fertilizers edged higher while the other four fertilizers were lower compared to last month, DTN's survey from the last week of April found. None of the four fertilizers moved by any significance. MAP averaged $502 per ton, anhydrous $587/ton, UAN28 $274/ton and UAN32 $321/ton.

The remaining four fertilizers were down compared to the month earlier, but again the move was slight. DAP averaged $476/ton, potash $366/ton, urea $560/ton and 10-34-0 $560/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.42/lb.N, anhydrous $0.36/lb.N, UAN28 $0.49/lb.N and UAN32 $0.50/lb.N.

Tight crop margins have small grain and corn farmers less interested in applying fertilizer in North Dakota, according to one fertilizer retailer. Jim Maier, who owns and operates Dakota Grain Company located in Elgin, North Dakota, said while he doesn't know how much farmers will ration use this growing season, he believes less will be applied in his home region of south-central North Dakota.

"I think we are going to see less fertilizer applied this spring here, mainly in the form of less phosphorus (P) and potash (K)," Maier told DTN. "With $4/bushel wheat and $3/bushel corn, guys are going to really struggle to be profitable this year."

Confirming that trend, fertilizer manufacturer Mosaic Co. reported this week that first-quarter sales of both potash and phosphorus products were running about 25% below year-earlier levels.

Maier said he thinks fertilizer prices will be fairly steady for the rest of this spring application season. There already has been some recent $5-per-ton price decreases, but he doesn't see prices moving too far in either direction, he said.

Longer term, fertilizer prices could remain steady to perhaps decrease some for the next growing season. He said he didn't hear of any local farmers not getting financing from their banks for this growing season, but he does have some concerns about the next growing season if commodity prices do not increase.

"I really do think fertilizer prices next fall will have to be lower, short of higher grain prices," he said. "Farmers are struggling to breakeven this year, I can't imagine what it will be like if we have this same situation next growing season."

Despite recent price stability, fertilizers remain significantly lower compared to a year earlier. All fertilizers are now double digits lower.

UAN32 is 13% lower, 10-34-0 is 14% less expensive, urea is 15% less expensive and MAP is 16% lower from a year ago. In addition, DAP is 17% lower, both anhydrous and UAN28 are 18% less expensive and potash is 26% lower.

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 prices in the DTN Fertilizer Index on the Fertilizer page under Farm Business.

Retail fertilizer charts dating back to November 2008 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
Apr 27-May 1 2015 571 598 492 455
May 25-29 2015 570 597 492 459
June 22-26 2015 572 597 490 469
July 20-24 2015 569 594 487 469
Aug 17-21 2015 568 587 477 448
Sept 14-18 2015 563 579 462 432
Oct 12-16 2015 547 564 440 418
Nov 9-13 2015 547 561 426 405
Dec 7-11 2015 534 555 417 397
Jan 4-8 2016 495 521 392 381
Feb 1-5 2016 488 502 381 370
Feb 29-Mar 4 2016 476 492 373 374
Mar 28-Apr 1 2016 478 501 370 386
Apr 25-29 2016 476 502 366 386
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
Apr 27-May 1 2015 652 711 332 371
May 25-29 2015 650 710 332 371
June 22-26 2015 641 690 330 369
July 20-24 2015 636 689 324 354
Aug 17-21 2015 611 667 309 349
Sept 14-18 2015 593 653 300 345
Oct 12-16 2015 584 640 295 338
Nov 9-13 2015 581 631 289 332
Dec 7-11 2015 575 625 284 330
Jan 4-8 2016 572 582 273 316
Feb 1-5 2016 549 555 263 305
Feb 29-Mar 4 2016 566 537 260 309
Mar 28-Apr 1 2016 561 580 268 315
Apr 25-29 2016 560 587 274 321

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

(MZT/AG)


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