Urea Prices Continue to Climb Higher


by Russ Quinn, DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — As they have for the last three weeks, urea prices continue to climb, according to retail fertilizer prices tracked by DTN for the fourth week of March 2012. On the other end of the spectrum, UAN32 prices are moving lower.

Urea was the only fertilizer once again to show a price increase. The nitrogen fertilizer was 12{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} higher compared to the fourth week of February and had an average price of $645 per ton. That’s also up more than $150/ton in the last year.

The remaining seven fertilizers were lower compared to a month ago, with just one fertilizer down any significance. UAN32 slid 8{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} compared to a month earlier and had an average price of $425/ton. DAP averaged $632/ton, MAP $696/ton, potash $657/ton, 10-34-0 $796/ton, anhydrous $766/ton and UAN28 $382/ton.

With urea spiking recently, other nitrogen fertilizers are becoming more attractive. On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.70/lb.N, anhydrous $0.47/lb.N, UAN28 $0.68/lb.N and UAN32 $0.66/lb.N.

Urea continues to be the story with spring field work kicking in high gear as the calendar changes from March to April. Several factors appear to be at work keeping urea prices on the rise, according to Frank Rydl, agronomy sales and marketing for Key Cooperative located in Nevada, Iowa.

“One reason for higher urea prices would be wheat regions going through the product, but another reason might be some retailers held off purchasing urea this winter. Now that spring is finally here, they are forced to buy at these higher levels,” Rydl told DTN.

Talk of high river levels also might be slowing the flow of urea northward, he added.

Any spike in urea prices won’t repeat 2008’s rise, according to analysts at Rabobank International. A buyer’s market will prevail later in the year as new urea capacity hits the market starting in mid-2012, it said in its “Fertilizer Quarterly Q1 2012: Trends and Outlook for International Markets” report released last week.

Rabobank has a mainly neutral view of fertilizer pricing for the second quarter of 2012.

“Rabobank sees potential for global prices of key nutrients, particularly phosphates and nitrogen, to begin a slow but steady recovery,” the report stated. “Nevertheless, global markets are not expected to reach the highs of 2011. More comfortable stock levels in some markets despite production curtailments are expected to keep markets generally balanced. Also, increased new supply and fewer trade disruptions will help keep a lid on prices.”

Rydl echoed Rabobank’s fertilizer price outlook. He believes fertilizer prices are not going to decline anytime soon.

“Fertilizer prices as a whole, however, should be fairly strong heading into to summer fill activity during this growing season,” he said.

Two of the eight major fertilizers are still showing double-digit increases in price compared to one year earlier. Leading the way higher is urea. The nitrogen fertilizer is 31{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} higher compared to last year while potash is now 11{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} higher compared to the fourth week of March 2011.

Four fertilizers have seen just slight price increases compared to a year earlier. 10-34-0 is now 6{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} more expensive, both anhydrous and UAN28 are 3{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} higher and UAN32 is 1{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} more expensive from last year.

Two fertilizers are now actually lower compared to one year ago. DAP is now 7{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} lower while MAP has decreased 1{fd15d42d1b024b97d6d50958be27cc8145b6addb99e015780abccf2984117bb0} in price.

DTN collects roughly 1,300 retail fertilizer bids from 310 retailer locations weekly. Not all fertilizer prices change each week. Prices are subject to change at any time.


© Copyright 2012 DTN/The Progressive Farmer, A Telvent Brand. All rights reserved.

Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x