Fertilizer Bulletin | Anhydrous Overtakes New-Crop Revenue

Posted on 04/04/2019 3:52 PM


  • Fertilizer prices were mostly higher on the week.
  • Our Nutrient Composite Index firmed 2.98 points to 616.15.


  • Urea was the only nitrogen product to post a decline this week. Kansas urea fell sharply to lead declines with Nebraska off around a buck and a half on the week.
  • UAN28% led gains within the nitrogen segment led by gains in Nebraska and Kansas.
  • Anhydrous ammonia firmed a little less than 2 bucks on the week led by Kansas and South Dakota. Michigan and Wisconsin each posted hefty declines.
  • UAN32% was higher as well, led by gains in Wisconsin and Michigan. Nine of twelve states posted gains in 32% this week.nitrogen indices chart

This week marks a significant development in fertilizer prices. Anhydrous ammonia has firmed to a price $4.24 above an acre of expected new-crop revenue. Comparing anhydrous ammonia's price per ton to one acre of expected new-crop corn revenue lends perspective on overall fertilizer affordability. While NH3 was up only slightly this week, December 2019 corn futures fell sharply in response to last week's USDA report. That being the case, we can likely expect December futures to recover and return to previous price points closer to $4.00. That would put anhydrous back at a slight discount to expected new-crop revenue, but while the chart would look a little less threatening, the fact remains that anhydrous and other forms of nitrogen are priced well above the same time last year.

The last time anhydrous and new-crop revenue were priced so closely together was July 2017 when the two were at parity for a short time. Since then, anhydrous prices have fallen well below new-crop revenue, blunting the impacts of declining corn prices. With the notable exception of last Friday's selloff in the corn market, corn futures have been largely confined to a fairly narrow range. Production budgets had the benefit in the past few years of low-priced nitrogen. But since nitrogen has recovered while corn futures have stayed put, affordability will be much more elusive in the coming marketing year.

For the remainder of spring, all nitrogen products will carry upside price risk. For perspective, consider the number of potential difficulties at various places around the Midwest. Transport will definitely be a problem in western Belt areas impacted by floods. Also remember the amount of fall fieldwork that was left undone. Nitrogen prices firmed before transport difficulties were created by floods. Some strength could be attributed to expected nitrogen demand given the lack of fall applications. But there are reasons scattered about corn country for nitrogen prices to continue higher that have not yet been factored-in to prices. If you have not yet booked nitrogen for spring and summer 2019, I would strongly advise you do so now to stay ahead of building upside nitrogen price risk.p and k indices chart


  • Phosphates were mixed on the week with DAP falling more than $3 while MAP firmed 59 cents per short ton regionally.
  • DAP fell on pressure in Wisconsin and Michigan as Ohio and Iowa led gains.
  • Most states posted a firmer weekly MAP price with Indiana and Nebraska leading gains.
  • Wholesale phosphate prices were mixed during the week according to MosaicCo with DAP sideways to lower and MAP slightly higher.


  • Potash firmed slightly on the week led by Illinois and Kansas.
  • Wholesale potash prices reported by MosaicCo were lower across the board during the week ended March 29.
  • Currently potash is priced below anhydrous ammonia when considered on an indexed basis, but there is risk that potash and phosphates will follow if nitrogen prices run higher.

Corn Futures

  • December 2019 corn futures closed Friday March 29 at $3.84 putting expected new-crop revenue (eNCR) at $621.07 per acre -- lower $27.68 per acre on the week.
  • With our Nutrient Composite Index (NCI) at 616.15 this week, the eNCR/NCI spread narrowed 30.66 points and now stands at -4.92.
Current Week
+59 cents
+23 cents

nutrient composite index chart

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