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DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends
Tuesday, August 4, 2015 1:16PM CDT

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- Fertilizer prices remained fairly steady the fourth week of July 2015, according to retailers tracked by DTN. With this calmness in the market, some farmers are debating whether to lock in fertilizer prices now.

For the second consecutive week in a row, all eight of the major fertilizers slipped in price compared to a month earlier, but these moves to the low side were slight. DAP had an average price of $569 per ton, MAP $594/ton, potash $487/ton, urea $469/ton, 10-34-0 $636/ton, anhydrous $689/ton, UAN28 $324/ton and UAN32 $354/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.51/lb.N, anhydrous $0.42/lb.N, UAN28 $0.58/lb.N and UAN32 $0.55/lb.N.

The late-summer time period is when farmers begin to think about locking in at least some of their fertilizer needs for the next growing season. This year's situation only complicates a difficult decision, since retail fertilizer prices remain steady while commodity prices vacillated wildly in July.

A quick survey of some farmers on Twitter finds different schools of thought on the subject. Paul R. Anderson (@ndcorngrower) said fertilizer remains at a level that is too high for him to consider locking in some prices.

"(Fertilizer) is too expensive," Anderson said. "I won't buy until I know I can pay this year's bills."

Mike Carlson (@hayseedmike) reported he doesn't really know what to do this year after he perceived he made the wrong choice last year at this same time. The Red Oak, Iowa, farmer said he could buy anhydrous for $598 per ton now but doesn't know what he will do.

"I need someone to tell me what to do; I didn't (lock prices) last year and was mad later," Carlson said. "This year I will probably lock it in and it will go down."

One farmer who did lock in some of his fertilizer needs for the 2016 growing season was BJ Hays (@brhayes21), who farms on both side of the Missouri River near Sioux City, Iowa. He is repeating his fertilizer buying plan from last year again this year.

"We are buying half of our needs now, then I will be 50% right or wrong," Hays said. "One hundred percent wrong hurts."

Hays said he locked in some nitrogen for his farming operation, specifically in the form of UAN32.

Only one of the eight major fertilizers is double digits higher in price compared to July 2014, all while commodity prices are significantly lower from a year ago. 10-34-0 is still 17% higher compared to last year.

Two fertilizers are slightly more expensive compared to a year earlier. Potash is up 2% and anhydrous was 3% higher compared to last year.

The remaining five nutrients run lower compared to retail prices from a year ago. Both DAP and MAP are 3% lower, UAN28 is 4% less expensive, UAN32 is down 7% and urea is 10% less expensive from a year earlier.

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 national average retail fertilizer prices from a month earlier ($ per ton):

DRY
Date Range DAP MAP POTASH UREA
July 28-Aug 1 2014 587 610 476 519
August 25-29 2014 585 602 475 517
Sept 22-26 2014 579 600 473 510
Oct 20-24 2014 582 599 478 507
Nov 17-21 2014 576 595 480 493
Dec 15-19 2014 565 592 483 461
Jan 12-16 2015 566 594 486 465
Feb 9-13 2015 569 597 488 473
Mar 9-13 2015 570 597 489 471
Apr 6-Apr 10 2015 570 598 491 461
May 4-8 2015 570 598 491 457
June 1-5 2015 570 598 491 461
June 29-July 3 2015 570 596 490 469
July 27-31 2015 569 594 487 469
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
July 28-Aug 1 2014 542 671 339 380
August 25-29 2014 555 699 332 371
Sept 22-26 2014 555 694 329 377
Oct 20-24 2014 557 697 327 367
Nov 17-21 2014 560 709 322 366
Dec 15-19 2014 572 705 322 362
Jan 12-16 2015 582 710 325 364
Feb 9-13 2015 589 707 330 370
Mar 9-13 2015 626 706 331 371
Apr 6-Apr 10 2015 648 709 333 370
May 4-8 2015 653 711 331 371
June 1-5 2015 650 710 331 371
June 29-July 3 2015 642 705 330 369
July 27-31 2015 636 689 324 354

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

(MZT/AG)


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