Most Retail Fertilizer Prices Stall


The average price of 10-34-0 continues its impressive march higher, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the second week of January 2011. But while 10-34-0 skyrockets, prices of the other seven major fertilizers surveyed showed little movement in either direction.

For the fifth week in a row, 10-34-0 registered the largest price increase, up 12 percent compared to one month earlier. The starter fertilizer averaged $641 per ton.

The only other fertilizer with a notable move was UAN32. The nitrogen fertilizer was up 6 percent compared to the second week of December 2010. Its average price is now $396/ton.

DAP, MAP, potash, urea and anhydrous were all just slightly higher compared to a month earlier. DAP had an average price of $671/ton, MAP $698/ton, potash $569/ton, urea $489/ton and anhydrous $728/ton.

On the other end of the scale, UAN28 was slightly lower in price compared to a month earlier. The fertilizer averaged $349/ton.

A slowdown in orders may account for the January price lull. Most growers in the Corn Belt have locked in orders for the 2011 season. Meanwhile, a severe drought gripping most of the High Plains wheat region has left many farmers undecided about when to apply nitrogen to the winter wheat, retailers said. A top-dressing trip normally happens in late January through February.

Matt Johnson, an agronomist with Farmer’s Co-op located in Weatherford, Okla., said many farmers are waiting to apply fertilizer until some more moisture falls.

“It is terribly dry with wheat leaves beginning to curl,” Johnson told DTN. “It has been really slow as far as farmers lining up fertilizer for their wheat acres.”

Johnson believes most farmers will apply nitrogen fertilizer, mainly in the form of UAN solutions, once it rains. Some producers may decide to rip up the wheat later this spring in favor of milo if conditions do not improve, he said.

While his farmer customers are not necessarily thrilled with higher fertilizer prices, Johnson said everyone understands fertilizer will rise or fall with whatever the commodity market does.

“In the past, it seems like natural gas prices really factored in fertilizer prices, but anymore all that seems to matter is the price of grain,” he said.

All eight major fertilizers still show double-digit increases in price compared to one year earlier. Leading the way higher is now 10-34-0. The starter fertilizer has skyrocketed in recent weeks and is now 65 percent higher compared to the second week of January 2010.

Anhydrous has now climbed 56 percent, MAP 52 percent and both UAN28 and DAP 50 percent. UAN32 has climbed 45 percent, urea 19 percent and potash 12 percent above a year earlier.

© Copyright 2011 DTN/The Progressive Farmer, A Telvent Brand. All rights reserved.

Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp

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