by Russ Quinn, DTN Staff Reporter
OMAHA (DTN) -- As has been the case the last several weeks, nitrogen fertilizer prices seem to moving in opposite directions, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second week of September. Anhydrous is moving higher while urea is continuing to move lower.
For the sixth-straight week, the only fertilizer in DTN's survey that was higher of any significance was anhydrous. With a fall fertilizer application rapidly approaching, the nitrogen fertilizer was 8% higher compared to the second week of August and had an average price of $832/ton.
Two other fertilizers were slightly higher compared to a month earlier. MAP had an average price of $671/ton while UAN28 was at $386/ton.
Leading the way lower once again, like it has many times in recent months, was urea. The nitrogen fertilizer was 7% lower and now has an average price of $605/ton. Urea's price has now dropped $161/ton since Memorial Day.
Also somewhat lower was 10-34-0. The starter fertilizer declined 5% compared to a month earlier. 10-34-0 had an average price of $631/ton.
Three other fertilizers were also less expensive but just slightly lower. DAP had an average price of $631/ton, potash $621/ton and UAN32 $426/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.66/lb.N, anhydrous $0.51/lb.N, UAN28 $0.69/lb.N and UAN32 $0.67/lb.N.
While North Dakota has avoided some of the disastrous yield losses compared to some other states, farmers are assessing residual N in areas of the state where drought occurred, David Franzen, North Dakota State University Extension soil specialist, said in a recent article on 2013 fertilizer application.
In areas where corn yields are limited, some theorize the demand for fertilizer will be low and fertilizer prices will be lower next spring. Therefore growers are thinking that delaying fertilizer application until spring would be wise.
None of these assumptions are reasonable, he concludes.
"First, with grain in many farmers' bins in drought-stricken areas, grain prices at high levels, some protection from crop insurance and with several very profitable years behind them, most Corn Belt farmers will shrug off the drought and move on making similar production decisions as in the past," Franzen wrote.
He also points out that while the U.S. is one of the drivers of world-wide fertilizer prices, it is not the only driver. China is the largest user of fertilizer in the world and India and Brazil also use large amounts, he said.
Franzen told DTN there is an option for farmers thinking they may have nitrogen left in the soil after the drought. He would recommend not put much nitrogen early but then use a pre-side-dress test or use an active-optical sensor to determine whether to sidedress and what rates to apply.
As far as phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), he did think these nutrients could still be in the soil at higher levels.
"P and K could still be in the soil, although if the corn was removed for cattle feed as green chop or silage, far more K is leaving the field than if the crop was raised for grain," he said.
Franzen's article can be viewed at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/….
Two of the eight major fertilizers are still showing a price increase compared to one year earlier. Anhydrous is now 6% higher while urea is 2% higher compared to last year.
Four fertilizers are actually lower in price compared to September 2011. UAN28 is 2% lower UAN32 is 3% lower, potash is 4% less expensive and MAP is 8% lower.
Two remaining fertilizers are now down double digits from a year ago. DAP is now down 10% while 10-34-0 is now 20% less expensive from a year earlier.
DTN collects roughly 1,450 retail fertilizer bids from 310 retailer locations weekly. Not all fertilizer prices change each week. Prices are subject to change at any time.
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Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp