Inputs Monitor Editor Davis Michaelsen adds his perspective into the happenings of the inputs markets.
State-by-State Nutrient Charts YTD Part 1: Nitrogen
Apr 25, 2014
This week's blog lets the charts do the talking in the first installment of a three part chart series. We start with nitrogen. Our survey includes anhydrous ammonia, UAN28%, UAN32% and urea, charted by each state since the first of 2014. The following charts are divided into three groups -- southern, central and northern states, and each group includes a chart of our 12 state average for comparison.
As of this week, we are 100% filled on spring and summer nutrient with 50% yet to go on summer farm diesel and 100% of fall/winter propane to cover. We are waiting on fuels to come our way later this summer. Next week we will feature P&K charts for the same period of time and part 3 will cover farm diesel and propane.
The southern region includes Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri and these three states often act as indicators of pricing movements ahead. (Nebraska typically enjoys pricing very similar to that of Kansas, and so I include the 'technically western state' with our southern region.) I have written that southern growers have had a bit of an advantage when it comes to fertilizer prices because the application season begins before areas north are fully thawed.
That limits the influence of supply side shortages on price. So far this year, Kansas has boasted the lowest NH3 pricing by a mile when compared to northern states, but the statewide average there has risen back above the $600/ton mark as applications are now well underway -- weather permitting.
The central region includes Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Progress has been slow to take off in many areas of our central region and more rain and cooler temps are in the forecast for the coming week.
The farther we get from Kansas, the higher we see prices pegged. This becomes very evident when compared to the northern region, but the central region is also generally priced higher than Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.
The northern region has some of the widest price ranges in our survey. The region includes The Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Between Minnesota and Michigan, this week's average NH3 price varies by $171.34 by the ton. That is a significant difference for two states within the same region.
Progress has been limited thus far, but once the weather lends a hand, growers have proven they can put seed into the ground in a hurry. Unfortunately, by the time progress begins, the early inputs purchases have generally forced resupply at higher prices, and if distribution or supply side problems emerge, the north will bear the brunt of price increases. Forward booking inputs is most vital in northern territories.
Next week, we will chart P&K prices in the same way, and the following week we will look at farm diesel and propane with an eye toward the summer outlook. On fertilizers, we see very little keeping a lid on prices and we expect increasing retail prices across the board -- except for maybe potash -- for the remainder of the spring and summer season.