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Fertilizer Prices Mixed, as Anhydrous Drops Below $1,000; Diesel Prices in Focus

DTN writer Russ Quinn reported last week that, “Most retail fertilizer prices continued to shift lower the third week of April 2023, according to retailers tracked by DTN. However, for the first time in several months, multiple fertilizers were slightly higher.”

Quinn explained that, “Multiple fertilizers were higher in price for the first time since the fourth week of November 2022. DAP and MAP were both up just slightly with DAP having an average price of $826/ton while MAP is at $812/ton.”

The DTN article pointed out that,

The notable milestone in last week’s prices was set by anhydrous, with an average price of $995/ton. This marks the first time the nitrogen fertilizer has been under $1,000/ton since the fourth week of October 2021 when the price was at $982/ton.

“Anhydrous had a four-digit price for 77 consecutive weeks or just short of 20 straight months. The highest price the fertilizer saw during this time was $1,534/ton for the third and fourth week of April 2022.”

“DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends,” by Russ Quinn. DTN- Progressive Farmer (April 26, 2023).

Quinn added that, “All fertilizers are now double digits lower compared to one year ago. 10-34-0 is 18% less expensive, DAP is 21% lower, MAP is 25% less expensive, potash is 27% lower, UAN32 is 31% less expensive, UAN28 is 33% lower, anhydrous is 35% less expensive and urea is 38% lower compared to a year prior.”

In its monthly Agricultural Prices report on Friday, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) noted that, “Fertilizer: The index for March, at 129.3, is down 3.0 percent from February and 14 percent since March a year ago. Since February, prices are lower for nitrogen, mixed fertilizer, and potash & phosphate.”

The NASS report also noted that, “Compared with February, prices are lower for diesel and LP gas but higher for gasoline.”

On Thursday, in its weekly Grain Transportation Report, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service indicated that, “For the week ending April 24, the U.S. average diesel fuel price decreased 3.9 cents from the previous week to $4.077 per gallon, 108.3 cents below the same week last year.”

Wall Street Journal writers David Uberti and Bob Henderson reported in Wednesday’s paper that, “A nationwide freight slowdown has helped cut U.S. diesel prices by half from last year’s record, raising concerns that parts of the world’s largest economy have begun to slow.

“Wholesale diesel recently fell to $2.65 a gallon in New York Harbor, down from $5.34 last May, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent commodity markets haywire and turned prices advertised at gas stations into street-level reminders of inflation’s 40-year highs. Record diesel costs made it more expensive to operate excavators at construction sites, run machinery on farms, and haul goods from ports, rail yards or factory floors.

“Sliding Diesel Prices Reflect Freight Slump,” by David Uberti and Bob Henderson. The Wall Street Journal (April 26, 2023).

Prices began falling months ago, when a warm winter cut demand for heating fuel and a reshuffling of global oil trade alongside Russia’s war left a glut of diesel supplies on the market. Now—with the Federal Reserve trying to cool business activity by raising interest rates—waning manufacturing output and trade have also dented U.S. appetite for the fuel.”

Keith Good Photo

Keith Good is the Farm Policy News editor for the farmdoc project. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.

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