Fertilizer: IFA works to stay in tune with market fluctuations

We are coming to the time of year when growers are planning budgets and deciding which crops to plant in the 2016 growing season. Fertilizer market knowledge is one tool you can use to help set your nutrient input budgets for the coming year. I thought I would offer some current thoughts and trends for these fertilizer markets. Fertilizer prices continue to show little strength as the fall application season advances.


Ammonia prices for November remain unclear at the wholesale level, but retail costs are still drifting slightly lower. Price sheets on the southern plains generally remain flat in many areas. While above normal temperatures limit applications in some areas, other growers are waiting until spring – either for ammonia or other types of nitrogen. Current fundamentals suggest spring prices will be slightly higher than today’s levels.


Urea prices have been flat throughout the autumn season in the United States though there were reports of some increases elsewhere as Chinese suppliers attempted to hold the line on lowering prices. With product no longer moving to the northern stretches of the river system, flat prices are being seen in the upper Midwest, though terminals further south have seen softer prices. Many market-watch newsletters show prices picking up slightly through winter, though many think the upside on pricing is not going to be as high as in previous years as we enter the spring growing season.


Phosphates appeared firm this week, but their recent downtrend could start up again moving into winter. Demand continues to be fair to good in much of the Midwest and eastern corn belts, where fall application continues. Prices continue to be mostly flat, with adequate supplies. Some market indicators suggest that pricing will be weaker through winter, which could knock another few dollars off current prices. Farmers, so far, appear to have been patient with purchases, so waiting may not be difficult. These statements reflect that there is really no clear cut direction to the phosphate market yet.


Potash prices have been steady for the last several weeks. The lower prices we currently have could be encouraging some demand, but manufacturers continue to cut production, showing once again they are trying to manage supplies. Prices are currently at their lowest price level in the last six months – from all indications potash pricing should be a fair value for the next several weeks, even months ahead.

At Intermountain Farmers, the first item on our Mission Statement is: “First, manufacture and distribute products and deliver services to the agricultural community that are reasonably priced and professionally provided, and identify and develop markets based on customer need and opportunity.”

We try and keep abreast of the ever-changing fertilizer markets every day. Our IFA Certified Crop Advisors are an excellent resource for growers. Please visit with them so they can help you make good, educated decisions for your business.

At IFA, we value your business very much. We try and instill in our patrons a feeling of ownership and partnership in our cooperative. With our knowledge and expertise, we will work hard to earn your business.

Thank you for your support of this member-owned cooperative. We look forward to a positive new growing season on the horizon. Best wishes to each of you this holiday season.

Written by Brett Harman, CCA, and originally published in the IFA Cooperator magazine (vol. 81, no. 4) Winter 2015. Brett is a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) with IFA Agronomy.