Fertilizer price trends in 2017

The retail prices of all major fertilizers remained low and stable in the first half of 2017, according to USDA statistics.

The approximate retail prices for bulk purchases of major fertilizers per ton, published in the Aug. 17, 2017, USDA Illinois Department of Agriculture Market News Report, are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Prices for major fertilizers (dollars per ton)

Fertilizer source

August 2017

Diammonium phosphate (DAP)


Monoammonium phosphate (MAP)






Urea-Ammonium Nitrate (UAN 28 percent)


Anhydrous ammonia


The current prices of all fertilizers are 5 to 15 percent lower than the corresponding 2015-2016 prices.

The monthly price trends for the first half of 2017 are shown in Figure 1. The prices remained low and stable. The fertilizer industry is historically cyclical and currently going through a down cycle. The low fertilizer prices have helped farmers reduce their production costs to some extent compared to other inputs.

fertilizer prices

Figure 1. Fertilizer prices for the first half of 2017 (dollars per ton). Data source: USDA-Illinois Dept. of Ag Market News, Springfield, Illinois, cash prices for bulk purchases, granular form unless noted.

Michigan State University Extension advises producers be aware of price fluctuations over time and take advantage of purchasing options. Some proactive farmers prefer to pre-order and lock in phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizer for the following season when off-season prices are favorable. The low phosphorus and potassium fertilizer prices should also be an incentive for growers to apply phosphorus and potassium at buildup rates on fields that are currently below the critical soil test levels.

Despite the current fertilizer market stability, unforeseen changes in global demand or supply may cause price fluctuations.

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