If you haven’t bought fertilizer this year, anticipate higher prices for all major nutrients. As spring’s fertilizer needs rise, so have prices, but not above 2016 levels, says David Widmar, an economist at Purdue University and author at Agricultural Economic Insight.
Prices of urea, anhydrous ammonia, DAP and potash are all higher than they were earlier this year. Following are examples from Widmar showing data from Illinois. Growers should check their respective local areas for exact pricing but could very well see similar jumps.
- Urea: Current price is $361 per ton, 19 percent higher than in fall 2016. Price hikes in urea make it considerably more expensive than anhydrous ammonia. Urea is 1.23 times the price of anhydrous ammonia on a per-unit of nitrogen basis.
- Anhydrous Ammonia: Price is higher than January’s low; it’s now at $522 per ton. This represents an 8 percent increase in prices since the first week of January.
- DAP: Price has increased 3 percent since January to around $400 per ton.
- Potash: Price is up 12 percent since August 2016 to more than $300 per ton.
“The urea-anhydrous ammonia price ratio is the highest since September 2014,” Widmar says.
While prices might be higher than earlier this year, they are still lower than in past years. Growers are advised to look into local pricing to determine what fertilizer type and mix will best suit the needs of their farms and manage expenses.