Global issues continue to plague the global nitrogen fertilizer market

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One thing that goes a long way in helping a fertilizer retailer plan for future fertilizer needs is constant communication with their farmer customers, Meece said. Communicating needed fertilizer will help retailers plan for the 2023 growing season, he said.

N PRICES CONTINUE HIGH

The price of nitrogen continues to be a major concern for both farmers and retailers.

Klein said volatility in the nitrogen market remains a major hurdle for those looking to buy fertilizer. He has taken a stand to buy some of his nitrogen fertilizer needs, he said.

According to Gary Schnitkey, a farm management specialist at the University of Illinois, farmers should consider pricing certain bushels of corn as well as buying fertilizer. Profits should be locked in whenever possible, he said.

Anhydrous prices remain in the $1,400 per tonne range, down from around $1,100 per tonne earlier this fall. It’s also up from the $500 to $600 per ton price range in recent years.

DTN continues to monitor retail fertilizer prices on a weekly basis. The national average for anhydrous is $1,434 per tonne, while urea is $812 per tonne, UAN28 averages $582 per tonne, and UAN32 averages $680 per tonne. See last week’s Retail Fertilizer Trends column here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….

Schnitkey said nitrogen prices could continue to be volatile in the near term.

Global natural gas prices may continue to rise in the near term, which could push prices higher. However, natural gas prices in the United States are not as high, so nitrogen prices could drop here.

“We don’t really know which way nitrogen prices will go in the coming months,” Schnitkey said.

LESS FALL APPLIED N

A general trend in the nitrogen fertilizer market in Illinois is that farmers are switching from nitrogen applied in the fall to applying more in the spring on multiple trips across the field. This includes more nitrogen to deliver nutrients to corn plants as they need them.

Meece said some farmers he works with continue to apply nitrogen in the fall, which is good news for retailers because it would be difficult to cover every acre in the spring. Spring application allows for a few different application times — pre-plant and lateral treatment — he said.

“Agronomically, it’s good to split nitrogen applications and make it available at different soil depths,” Meece said.

Klein said when he returned to his family’s farm in 2005 after college, they applied nitrogen in the form of anhydrous ammonia in the fall after harvest. Over the years they have moved away from this practice to apply all of their acres in the spring in both pre-plant and side application.

“We just felt like it was the best decision we could make to not put all of our eggs in one basket,” Klein said.

Russ Quinn can be reached at Russ.Quinn@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN

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