Wagons Circle Around Potash as Outriders Stray

Posted on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 15:03

With planting progress in some areas of the Corn Belt well ahead of expectations, areas lagging for a variety of reasons should be able to enjoy at least steady preplant fertilizer prices. The greatest near-term risk is for urea, but the wholesale market says it may be prudent to wait out this week's price strength. Phosphate prices are out of whack according to the spreads, while other fertilizers coalesce around this week's potash price. We feel no urgency this week to make any purchases, unless of course you are set to roll. For now, we are content to remain hand-to-mouth for our fertilizer needs.

  • Fertilizer prices were mixed but higher on the week overall.
  • Our Nutrient Composite Index (NCI) firmed 4.02 points to 540.51.
Current Week
-79 cents
+99 cents

Corn Futures

  • December 2020 corn futures closed Friday May 1 at $3.36 putting expected new-crop revenue (eNCR) at $547.36 per acre, unchanged on the week.
  • With our Nutrient Composite Index (NCI) at 540.51 this week, the eNCR/NCI spread narrowed 4.02 points and stands at -6.85.

Nitrogennitrogen indices chart

  • Nitrogen prices were mostly higher on strength in urea.
  • Urea firmed $14.52 on a corrective move to the upside in Missouri as the Dakotas each added about 9 bucks per short ton. Offsetting gains, Illinois was our sole decliner in urea, falling $8.10. Deferred wholesale urea values are in decline while prompt tonnage is reportedly steady. Word around the campfire is the smart money waits before locking in late season urea if possible.
  • UAN32% chased urea higher with Wisconsin up $13.40 on the week as Indiana added $5.73 per short ton. Declines were mild with Illinois 32% off 38 cents and Kansas down 2 cents per short ton.
  • UAN28% firmed 99 cents on the week with Wisconsin up $8.74 and Michigan firming $3.21. As with 32%, declines in 28% were mild led by a 97 cents drop in South Dakota as North Dakota softened 66 cents.
  • Anhydrous ammonia softened $2.41 on the week with Wisconsin of $23.80 and Michigan falling $7.97. Gains were mild with Indiana up $3.89 and Iowa firming an even dollar per short ton. Anhydrous ammonia has sported a slim $17 range since the first of October which is a very low level of volatility. Analysts believe NH3 is set to come under pressure in the coming weeks on the basis of swelling world ammonia stocks.

Phosphatep and k indices chart

  • Phosphate prices were mixed and the spread between DAP and MAP moved to contango with MAP at a discount to DAP. The more typical setup has MAP historically maintaining a roughly $15 premium to DAP. It is currently unclear whether MAP will firm or DAP will fall to correct the spread, but the most likely scenario is for MAP to firm around $20, so long as DAP holds steady.
  • DAP firmed $3.75 on the week with Indiana up $13.10 and Wisconsin $8.43 higher. Illinois was our sole decliner on the week, softening 16 cents per short ton.
  • MAP softened $1.77 this week led by Illinois which fell a corrective $56.00 per short ton as South Dakota dipped $2.90. Those declines were partially offset by a $20.90 rise in Missouri as Wisconsin firmed $9.67.
  • According to MosaicCo., wholesale DAP prices were sideways to lower at U.S. terminals and MAP was lower across the board in the week ended May1.


  • Potash softened 79 cents regionally this week with Missouri off $17.40 and Wisconsin down $2.10. Michigan led to the upside firming $2.75 as North Dakota added $2.57 per short ton.
  • According to MosaicCo., wholesale potash prices softened moderately at NOLA during the report week.
  • When considered on an indexed basis, potash, phosphates and UAN28% are nearly in lockstep with urea at a solid premium and anhydrous well underpriced by comparison.

nutrtient composite index chart