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):
|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|
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN