Tue Dec 16, 2014 01:35 PM CST
DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends 12/16 13:35 Retail Fertilizer Prices Firm Again Year-end stalemate continues as fertilizer prices resist commodity price crunch. By Russ Quinn DTN Staff Reporter OMAHA (DTN) -- As has been the case for months now, average retail fertilizer prices continue to show little movement in either direction, according to data tracked by DTN for the second week of December 2014. Six of the eight major fertilizers recorded slightly lower prices compared to a month earlier, while the remaining two were up just slightly. No fertilizer price moved significantly. DAP, MAP, urea, anhydrous, UAN28 and UAN32 were slightly lower in price compared to the previous month. DAP had an average price of $568/ton, MAP $591/ton, urea $483/ton, anhydrous $709/ton, UAN28 $323/ton and UAN32 $368/ton. The remaining two fertilizers were higher in price compared to a month earlier, but again these moves were fairly minor. Potash had an average price of $481/ton and 10-34-0 $571/ton. On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.52/lb.N, anhydrous $0.43/lb.N, UAN28 $0.58/lb.N and UAN32 $0.57/lb.N. In the last three weeks of the calendar year, we will look back at the top three issues affecting retail fertilizer during 2014. This week we look back at top issue No. 3 -- reduced fall fertilizer applications. With profitability in question for the 2015 growing season due to tight crop breakevens, some farmers decided to tighten their fertilizer belts. Fertilizer retailers, agronomists and farmers all reported fewer acres were expected to be covered with a fall fertilizer application trip in many regions of the Corn Belt. The combination of lower commodity prices and retail fertilizer prices that did not fall much -- and in some cases fertilizer prices which are now higher compared to the previous year -- had farmers reconsidering their nutrient application options. Some farmers followed normal practices regardless of the price of fertilizer. Others, however, decided to soil test fields extensively to see what fields could get by without a fall application this year. Much of the reduction in fertilizer applications should be contained to two of the "Big Three" fertilizers. While nitrogen application levels cannot be trimmed much without a noticeable drop in yields, phosphorus (P) and potash (K) applications could be limited in soils where levels are already on the high end. Growers could draw off the bank of P and K built previously. The question with more P and K applications in the spring period is: Can the fertilizer logistical system, which already faces some issues during the busy spring months, handle even more acres to cover during one season? Some retailers expressed concerns about being able to handle the increased workload in the spring while others said they always get the acres covered and they would again this spring. But the standoff in fertilizer orders can't continue forever. Addressing the DTN/The Progressive Farmer Ag Summit last week, CHS Inc. Senior Vice President Brian Schouvieller noted it takes at least 60 days to move urea from North Africa and the Middle East to the Upper Midwest. Those regions account for half of the nations' urea imports. So if suppliers want enough product in place for spring, they would need to place orders in the next few days. What was the No. 2 issue facing the fertilizer industry in 2014? Stay tuned for next week's column. Three of the eight major fertilizers are now double digits higher in price compared to December 2014, all while commodity prices are significantly lower from a year ago. DAP and anhydrous are both 12% higher while 10-34-0 is now 11% more expensive compared to a year earlier. In addition, urea is 9% higher, MAP is 8% more expensive and both UAN28 and UAN32 are 2% higher from last year. Potash remains the only nutrient which is still lower compared to retail prices from a year ago. Potash is 1% less expensive from a year previous. 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 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 Jan 6-10 2014 492.78 513.09 474.08 458.30 Feb 3-7 2014 521.24 550.48 470.01 502.95 Mar 3-7 2014 553.29 569.88 473.86 531.25 Mar 31-Apr 4 2014 578.78 599.25 474.61 546.33 Apr 28-May 2 2014 597.13 624.99 476.43 559.75 May 26-30 2014 595.94 630.78 480.02 551.35 June 23-27 2014 594.83 629.02 483.44 535.42 July 21-25 2014 585.40 617.46 482.98 527.46 Aug 18-22 2014 586.52 607.17 475.65 516.29 Sept 15-19 2014 580.21 598.02 475.17 509.45 Oct 13-17 2014 582.58 599.11 477.15 508.02 Nov 10-14 2014 578.75 598.00 479.76 497.78 Dec 8-12 2014 568.37 591.06 481.01 482.51 LIQUID Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32 Jan 6-10 2014 504.68 619.42 318.90 364.24 Feb 3-7 2014 498.31 617.23 334.24 381.71 Mar 3-7 2014 510.67 622.25 343.38 388.53 Mar 31-Apr 4 2014 514.88 659.53 351.01 395.53 Apr 28-May 2 2014 535.72 695.14 355.65 403.11 May 26-30 2014 558.90 702.05 355.65 406.38 June 23-27 2014 562.15 700.44 354.58 402.79 July 21-25 2014 561.56 683.14 345.14 393.96 Aug 18-22 2014 555.46 698.82 332.67 377.29 Sept 15-19 2014 554.26 692.97 328.86 376.49 Oct 13-17 2014 556.89 695.59 326.27 372.26 Nov 10-14 2014 559.20 720.13 336.11 368.24 Dec 8-12 2014 571.32 709.20 323.27 367.85 Russ Quinn can be reached at (MZT/AG/CZ) Copyright 2014 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. 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