Retail Urea Prices Head Back to Earth


by Russ Quinn, DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — As has been the case the past three weeks, declining fertilizer prices are continuing, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the third week of December. While commodity prices have rebounded recently, fertilizer prices have continued to decline during this time, retailers said.

Seven of the eight major fertilizers had lower prices compared to the third week of November. Urea featured a 9{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} decline in price compared to last month. The fertilizer now has an average price of $573 per ton.

The remaining six fertilizers with lower prices compared to a month earlier had relatively small decreases in price. DAP had an average price of $690/ton, MAP $729/ton, potash $658/ton, anhydrous $805/ton, UAN28 $394/ton (its first drop below $400/ton since the fourth week of August 2011) and UAN32 $448/ton.

The remaining fertilizer, 10-34-0, showed a slight increase in price compared to the third week of November. The starter fertilizer had an average price of $830/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.62/lb.N, anhydrous $0.49/lb.N, UAN28 $0.70/lb.N and UAN32 $0.70/lb.N.

Lower fertilizer prices are due to a combination of factors, according to John Gamble, manager for Ken MO Agriculture Center located in Kennett, Mo.

“Lower commodity prices are probably part of it, but just the lack of demand for fertilizer this time year is the other reason why we have seen prices lower in recent weeks,” Gamble told DTN. “We got some [prices on new inventory] the other day and they were significantly lower than before.”

Gamble specifically points to urea as one fertilizer that will see lower prices. The nitrogen fertilizer spiked in price during the spring and summer months of 2011. According to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN, the dry fertilizer has since dropped $53/ton in just four weeks.

Gamble said his region of the Missouri Bootheel traditionally does not have many farmers locking in their fertilizer needs at the end of the year as many of his farmer/customers are cotton and rice producers and not corn growers. However, he said this year he could have more than normal, thanks to Mother Nature.

“We had about 15 inches of rain in November and many guys didn’t get all their fertilizer on they normally do in fall,” he said. “We are going to have a higher percentage lock in some of their fertilizer costs at the end of the year just because they didn’t actually get it put down.”

Even with recent price relief, latecomers will be paying significantly more than they did a year ago. Six of the eight major fertilizers show double-digit increases in price compared to one year earlier. Leading the way higher is 10-34-0. The starter fertilizer has skyrocketed early this year before retreating some in recent months. It is now 40{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} higher compared to the third week of December 2010.

Urea has jumped 20{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e}, potash 17{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e}, UAN32 15{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e}, UAN28 14{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} higher and anhydrous 12{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} higher compared to year earlier.

The two phosphorus fertilizers continue to bring up the rear. MAP is 6{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} more expensive while DAP is 4{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} higher compared to December of 2010.

DTN collects fertilizer prices from more than 300 retailer locations weekly. Not all fertilizer prices change each week. Prices are subject to change at any time.


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

Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp


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