While some retail fertilizer prices are edging higher as farmers wait to hit the fields, the market is fairly quiet for spring on both the U.S. and international markets. While that could change if delays force producers to switch crops, so far deferred prices look softer for producers waiting to lock in fall supplies for 2014 crops.
Ammonia prices at the farmgate level remain expensive, despite a significant drop over the winter on wholesale markets. While suppliers on the Plains have anhydrous listed for $780 to $830, prices in the central Corn Belt are higher. USDA put the cost in Illinois last week at $890, up around $4.50, in a range from $875 to $910, with Iowa at $871.50. Prices out of the Black Sea were steady at $462.50 with the Gulf at $541.50. Those wholesale prices are more than $100 lower than fall highs, and suggest fair value prices of $775 to $790, with fundamental factors pointing to around $825.
UAN fell $4.50 a ton to $334 at the Gulf for 32%, but retail prices in the Corn Belt may be starting to firm. USDA put the average price in Illinois for 28% at $391.50, up almost $10 last week, with Iowa at $379.50. Recent price changes on the Plains suggest $400 or more is getting more common there. In the Southeast, Alabama prices ranged from $390 to $499 while North Carolina was running $350 to $393 for 30%, according to USDA. Current wholesale prices suggest fair retail value of $417, and late corn planting could push more dealers toward that level.
Urea fell again on wholesale markets, but retail prices for farmers are all over the map. The price at the Gulf dropped $13 to $380, while the Black Sea was off $9 at $329. Those prices suggest fair value costs of $505 to $520. Farmers on the Plains were paying mostly $520 to $580, while USDA put the average price in Illinois last week at $531 in a range from $505 to $560. USDA said the cost in Iowa was up to $590, with producers in South Carolina facing a range of $590 all the way to $776. Prices for May contracts at the Gulf of $30 lower, with summer prices another $5 to $10 cheaper. That suggests retail prices could be at $470 for restocking, after a surge in imports over the winter.
Phosphate prices are fairly quiet, with inventories higher at the start of April and running around 7% over last year. The cost of DAP at the Gulf was at $466.40, down $1, with May contracts another $6 cheaper. Current wholesale costs suggest a fair value retail price of $565, but costs are generally higher. Dealers on the Plains listed prices from $575 to $640 for DAP last week. USDA reported the cost last week in Illinois at just under $600, up around $6, while Iowa was at $648, South Carolina was $718 and Alabama ranged from $585 to $720.
Potash remains soft, with inventories at the start of April reported down only slightly and remaining at elevated levels. Prices for potash on the Plains were listed mostly from $545 to $595. USDA reported Illinois was up $3 to $571, in a range from $530 to $600, with Iowa at $622.50. Alabama ranged from $540 to $690, South Carolina from $560 to $754 and North Carolina from $580 to $650
One thing for sure is that farmers will fill the fields and need fertilizer for a decent yield. Did not get to my $23.20 point in the afternoon closing so we will see what tomorrow brings.
Quarterlies are coming so is the divy, we will see how that turns out.