Wet Weather Stalls Fieldwork, Affects Fertilizer


by Russ Quinn, DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — Wet weather stalled field work in many Midwest locations during the past week, forcing some changes in nitrogen application methods, and fertilizer prices tracked by DTN showed very little movement as well.

The only fertilizers to increase in price during the second week in April were 10-34-0 starter fertilizer and UAN32. The starter fertilizer was 5{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} higher compared to the second week of March, with a DTN/The Progressive Farmer survey average of $762 per ton. In our surveys of fertilizer retailers, UAN32 prices moved just slightly higher than the previous week, with an average price of $421/ton.

Looking at month-to month changes, six of the eight major fertilizers tracked moved slightly lower compared to one month ago. DAP had an average price of $678/ton, MAP $691/ton, potash $589/ton, urea $483/ton, anhydrous $734/ton and UAN28 $368/ton.

On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.53/lb.N, anhydrous $0.45/lb.N, UAN28 $0.66/lb.N and UAN32 $0.66/lb.N.

Mark Licht, Iowa State University field agronomist located in Carroll County, said Mother Nature is requiring some farmers to change nitrogen applications. Heavy spring rains during the past years have washed large amounts of nitrogen away from plants.

“One trend I have seen recently in our area is many farmers applying maybe half of nitrogen needs in the previous fall or that spring and then coming back with a post-emergence application of the rest,” Licht said. “This in-season application assures the plants have access to nitrogen when they need it.”

That change may be affecting fertilizer prices. Usually prices are climbing in the time period right before planting, but this year prices have moved very little.

Licht recommends that if farmers do go to a split application of nitrogen fertilizer, they dribble UAN solution fertilizer onto the soil or knife-in anhydrous or UAN solution at around the V6 to V8 stage for the in-season application.

Another reason growers in his northwestern Iowa location may be shifting to a split application of nitrogen is the concern about regulation. Licht said farmers may be proactive in making sure nitrogen makes it to their plants and not into groundwater.

“I think farmers are concerned about the regulation of fertilizer in the future,” he said. “They don’t want to see commercial fertilizer regulated so they are getting out and making sure it is being applied more efficiently.”

All eight major fertilizers are now showing double-digit increases in price compared to one year earlier. Leading the way higher is 10-34-0. The starter fertilizer has skyrocketed in recent weeks and is now 93{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} higher compared to the second week of April 2010.

Anhydrous has now climbed 59{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} while UAN32 is up 52{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} and UAN28 is 41{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} more expensive than last year. Both MAP and DAP are now 36{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} higher more expensive while both urea and potash are 16{dfeadfe70caf58f453a47791a362966239aaa64624c42b982d70b175f7e3dda2} higher than one year earlier.

DTN Pro Grains subscribers can find current retail fertilizer prices by location on the Fertilizer page under Farm Business.

DTN collects fertilizer prices from nearly 150 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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