News Story

DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends

By Russ Quinn
DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) -- Average retail fertilizer prices continued to be fairly steady with no significant moves either higher or lower the third week of April 2017, according to fertilizer retailers surveyed by DTN.

Of the eight major fertilizers, five are slightly higher in price compared to a month earlier. Those are DAP, MAP, potash, anhydrous and UAN32. DAP had an average price of $438 per ton, MAP $466/ton, potash $339/ton, anhydrous $509/ton and UAN32 $280/ton.

The remaining three fertilizers were slightly lower in price from last month. Urea had an average price of $352/ton, 10-34-0 $437/ton and UAN28 $247/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.38/lb.N, anhydrous $0.31/lb.N, UAN28 $0.44/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.

Last week, I attended the official opening of Iowa Fertilizer Company's (IFCo) new nitrogen fertilizer production facility near Wever, Iowa, along the Mississippi River in southeastern Iowa. The plant is the first greenfield facility built in the U.S. in 25 years.

The sprawling facility will produce 1.7 million to 2.2 million tons of fertilizer products annually in the form of ammonia, urea and UAN. Fertilizer isn't the only nitrogen-related product the facility will manufacture -- diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) will also be produced.

In addition to production facilities, IFCo also built a large distribution center to quickly load trucks with ammonia and get them back out to the country. While at the facility last Wednesday, I saw many trucks and trailers pull into the loading area and then leave with loads of anhydrous.

During the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, officials from IFCo, OCI NV (IFCo's Egypt-based parent company) and politicians spoke. They all said pretty much the same thing: Having a local, dependable supply of nitrogen fertilizer is good news for corn farmers of Iowa and Illinois, the top two corn-producing states.

What does this new supply mean for nitrogen prices in the future? No one knows for sure, but simple logic seems to indicate with lower transportation costs involved, nitrogen fertilizer should be less expensive for farmers, especially for those in the roughly 300-mile radius served by the new plant.

At the same time, it's unlikely fertilizer companies will flood the market with nitrogen, as that would significantly lower prices and reduce the companies' profits.

I think that, in the short term, some of the nitrogen imports into the U.S. may be replaced with this additional domestic product, so prices may not move much. Last November at The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) annual Outlook Conference, the presenter of the nitrogen outlook had several graphics showing U.S. nitrogen imports being cut in half in the coming years.

Longer term, nitrogen prices may decrease for some U.S. farmers, as they will not be so dependent on fertilizer produced in other parts of the world, which can be affected by geopolitical issues. It will be fascinating to see what does happen to retail nitrogen fertilizer prices in the coming years with the addition of the new Iowa plant.

Retail fertilizers are lower compared to a year earlier. Half of the eight major fertilizers are still double digits lower.

10-34-0 is 22% lower from a year ago, both anhydrous and UAN32 are 13% less expensive and UAN28 is 10% lower. Urea is 9% less expensive. Both DAP and potash are 8% lower, and MAP is 7% less expensive compared to 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 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
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
Jan 23-27 2017 429 443 322 347
Feb 20-24 2017 433 452 332 359
Mar 20-24 2017 438 464 338 356
Apr 17-21 2017 438 466 339 352
LIQUID
Date Range 10-34-0 ANHYD UAN28 UAN32
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
Jan 23-27 2017 436 480 235 268
Feb 20-24 2017 440 490 241 276
Mar 20-24 2017 441 507 248 280
Apr 17-21 2017 437 509 247 280

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

Follow Russ Quinn on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

(BAS/AG)

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