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OMAHA (DTN) -- With a couple of exceptions, retail prices for most fertilizers continued to rise the fourth week of November 2018, according to fertilizer sellers surveyed by DTN.
Six of the eight major fertilizers were slightly higher, but none had a significant price move compared to last month. MAP had an average price of $530 per ton, potash $369/ton, urea $409/ton, anhydrous $519/ton, UAN28 $246/ton and UAN32 $287/ton.
Two fertilizers were slightly lower from the previous month. DAP had an average price of $501/ton and 10-34-0 $457/ton.
On a price per pound of nitrogen basis, the average urea price was at $0.44/lb.N, anhydrous $0.32/lb.N, UAN28 $0.44/lb.N and UAN32 $0.45/lb.N.
A good part of the Corn Belt has seen winter-like conditions during fall 2018 as the calendar moved from November to December. Cold temperatures and frozen soils can present problems for the application of fertilizer.
In a blog post titled "Fall Fertilizer Outlook Application Outlook," Dan Kaiser, soil fertility specialist at the University of Minnesota, addresses the topic of applying fertilizer in winter-like weather. Kaiser wrote that all commercial fertilizer is water-soluble; however, there are variations in how long it takes for the material to fully dissolve.
"Any material that has not had some reaction with the soil may be susceptible to loss should water move across the field," Kaiser wrote. "Late fall fertilizer applications brings water quality concerns surrounding the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus."
Potential loss of urea can occur until hydrolysis converts urea to ammonium, which can be held by charges on soil. Urea is a neutral molecule and will readily move with water, he wrote.
Phosphorus loss can happen when fertilizer is applied to the soil surface and not incorporated. Research in Iowa has shown that a 10-day delay between application and rainfall is enough time to substantially reduce potential for phosphorus loss, according to Kaiser.
Kaiser said the simple fact is that the more time farmers can give phosphorus to react with the soil prior to a freeze, the less risk of loss.
"Tillage may not be an option at this point, and delaying application into the spring is highly suggested to prevent loss of fertilizer," he wrote. "Loss of N or P not only has environmental consequences but also is a waste of money."
All eight of the major fertilizers are now higher compared to last year with prices shifting higher in recent months. UAN32 is 6% higher, potash is 8% more expensive, 10-34-0 is 13% higher, UAN28 is 14% more expensive, both DAP and MAP are 15% higher, urea is 20% more expensive and anhydrous is now 24% more expensive compared to last year.
DTN collects roughly 1,700 retail fertilizer bids from 310 retailer locations weekly. Not all fertilizer prices change each week. Prices are subject to change at any time.
DTN Pro Grains subscribers can find current retail fertilizer price in the DTN Fertilizer Index on the Fertilizer page under Farm Business.
Retail fertilizer charts dating back to 2010 are available in the DTN fertilizer segment. The charts included cost of N/lb., DAP, MAP, potash, urea, 10-34-0, anhydrous, UAN28 and UAN32.
Jan beans finished down 7 cents, March corn down 1.5, and March wheat down 6 cents. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer went on cable news over the weekend making clear that March 1st was a “hard deadline” for the US – China trade talks. Concerns over the timeline and the ability to get something done before then were weighing on markets today. Market direction is going to follow the outcomes of these talks. The arrest of Meng Wanzhou (CFO of Huawei) is still weighing on the talks. China is protesting the arrest to the US ambassador in China saying it will take an unspecified “further action”. Anything threatening a trade resolution is weighing on ag market. The news regarding the Wanzhou bail hearing are likely going to add to the weakness we saw today. Market is still chasing headlines.