OMAHA (DTN) -- Retail fertilizer prices continue to move higher slowly, according to prices tracked by DTN for the second week of October 2018. For the fifth week in a row, all eight major fertilizers were higher compared to a month earlier.
None of the eight, however, were up a significant amount. DAP had an average price of $501/ton, MAP $523/ton, potash $365/ton, urea $393/ton, 10-34-0 $452/ton, anhydrous $488/ton, UAN28 $238/ton and UAN32 $280/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.43/lb.N, anhydrous $0.30/lb.N, UAN28 $0.43/lb.N and UAN32 $0.44/lb.N.
A recent DTN 360 Poll asked farmers: "With the fall fertilizer application season rapidly approaching, what best describes your fall fertilizer application season plan?"
The poll received nearly 400 responses between Sept. 14 and Oct. 15.
-- 45% chose "I do not plan to apply fertilizer this fall as I apply everything in the spring."
-- 27% picked "I plan on applying fertilizer this fall and I have locked in some of my fertilizer prices.
-- 21% responded "I plan on applying fertilizer this fall but have not yet locked in fertilizer prices."
-- 6% said "I plan on applying fertilizer this fall and will not be locking in fertilizer prices."
DTN asked a similar question last fall at the same time: "With harvest rapidly approaching, fall fertilizer application is also not that far away. What best describes to how you are handling fertilizer purchases for fall application?"
-- 52% of respondents said "Will not per-order fertilizer at all for fall application."
-- 29% chose "Will purchase fertilizer within the next month for fall application." --
12% said "Pre-ordered fertilizer within the last month for fall application"
-- 7% responded with "Pre-ordered fertilizer months ago for fall application."
Even though the questions weren't worded the same, they yield an interesting comparison. When you combine the answers about pre-ordering fertilizer, 48% of respondents locked in fertilizer prices ahead of application last year, while this year, only 27% did so.
Several factors could be driving this divergence. It's been a wet, slow harvest across a wide swath of the Corn Belt this year, and some farmers may run out of time to apply fertilizer this fall.
Another possibility: higher prices. Compared to last year, the retail price of all eight major fertilizers tracked by DTN are higher, with urea and anhydrous leading the way at 21% and 23% more expensive, respectively. Potash is 5% higher, 10-34-0 and UAN32 are both 10% more expensive, while UAN28, DAP and MAP are all 16% higher.
DTN would like to know: Are you pre-pricing fertilizer this year? Why or why not? Are your concerns primarily around the expense, the last harvest season or uncertainty about what you plan to grow next year?