Inputs Monitor February Wrap-up -- Nutrients

Published on: 14:00PM Feb 28, 2013

Your Inputs Monitor observed a run to the upside for nutrient in February. Gainers added $34.07 to decliners' $5.50 and March first is likely to prove to be the close of the seasonal buying window before the spring application.The biggest gainers were UAN solutions which added $7.25 for 28% and a whopping $14.96 for 32%. After trailing since October, Farm Diesel and LP both found an upward draft and potash and MAP were the only two nutrients that fell over the month.

With December 2013 corn futures currently at $5.54, total NPK should account for around 18% of expected new-crop revenue. Given current Dec. '13 pricing, 160 bu/acre (trendline) yield would produce $846.40 per acre in new-crop corn revenue. At that level, pricing resistance for total NPK lies at $152.35 per acre.

Anhydrous added $4.50 during the month of February to end at $882.08; Urea adds $2.50 to $565.33; UAN28 up $7.25 to $382.00 and UAN32 up $14.96 to $430.33.

DAP moved $4.67 higher to $644.33 while MAP fell $4.58 to $654.00.

Potash was largely stable through the month and wound up falling $0.92 during the month to $584.16.

Farm Diesel added $0.133 to $3.56 and LP gained $0.065 to $1.496.

*The table below compares pricing for nutrient and fuels during the first and last weeks of February.

February Pricing
Month-over change
Farm Diesel


NPK Outlook...

The short-term outlook for NPK is improving in some key areas and as planted acres to corn are expected to increase, reports from upstream are that nitrogen is in good supply. Hand-to-mouth buying early in March may temporarily inflate pricing at retail outlets, but prices are expected to remain largely stable into early summer and production will be supported by favorable expected new-crop revenue.

Phosphates in particular have made gains against five-year inventory levels after lagging for most of 2012. High ammonia costs due to scheduled maintenance in Trinidad and Tobago and natural gas disruptions in North Africa have shown signs of easing and this should translate into increased DAP/MAP production, further lowering the price of P this summer.

North American Potash inventories are still quite high both year-over and against the five-year average. Some have raised the suggestion that China delayed K purchases from Canpotex in fall 2012 to inflate Canadian inventories, lowering the purchase price. When China did make a purchase, it was for a deep discount and only for 1 million tons. This is working in favor of North American growers as 2013 shows favorable pricing for banking a little K in the soil.